Could the Black Hills be a good home to the first underground shale research laboratory in the nation? A newly state-funded partnership aims to find out.
RESPEC, a consulting firm that works with energy- based companies in 10 states, announced an initiative with the School of Mines and Technology Thursday.
The partnership was given a jump- start thanks to $464,000 set aside by the legislature.
Lance Roberts, RESPEC senior vice president, says the money will fund drilling and sampling of shale units, laboratory testing of shale, and design concepts for an underground lab.
Roberts says the research is important for the entire country in order to become more energy - independent. "I think there is more that can be done in the gas and in the oil productions," said Roberts. "It's important for us to understand what's going on underground, and obviously having an underground research facility would allow us to do that."
Roberts says the laboratory will likely take years and millions of dollars to complete.