The short answer is all of us. “Innovative technology” is a buzz word for every conference, trade publication, and marketing brochure presented within the oil and gas industry. Operators want to profit from it. Service companies want to sell it at a premium. Engineers want to provide it. And journalists want to talk about it. What’s the connection between “innovation” and joint industry projects? Well, it starts with an idea that may or not work. These ideas typically spring from solutions that didn’t work or that people in the field think could work better. New methods of finding, drilling, and producing the worlds reserves are at the forefront of many debates. The old ways work, but many operators and scientists believe that these methods could be made to work better. The typical JIP can be carried out on a shared risk basis, which is paramount in an industry where most players always want to be the “second” to use a new technology. While many JIPs exist between several operators, others are done through cooperation with research-based non-profit corporations set up privately or through universities. For instance, Chevron USA Inc. recently proposed an additional six wells for the northeastern portion of Alaminos Canyon Block 818 in 9,022 to 9,079 ft (2,752 to 2,769 m) of water. The company filed the plan as part of the Gulf of Mexico Methane Hydrate Joint Industry Project (JIP), in collaboration with the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The primary objective of the project is to develop technology and data to help in characterizing the naturally occurring gas hydrates in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, the study hopes to gain a better understanding of how natural gas hydrates can affect seafloor stability. The multi-phase project began in September 2001 and will continue through September 2010. What can we learn from these types of ventures? Virtually everything. The problem with moving the industry along in the name of technology is the volatile nature of the oil price. No one wants to sink a major sum of capitol into newer technology that may or may not be necessary in the future. While many believe oil’s high price is here to stay, not everyone is convinced (including me). How do we know what will drive energy in the future? We don’t. However, in the meantime it is important to understand the value of a barrel of oil based on its ability to drive technology, which is not merely a question of cash. Oil will remain the most volatile medium we have in driving new ideas into the real market. Conceptualizing is one thing, but putting new ideas into practice takes risk. JIPs help operators and engineers avert extreme financial risks upfront for long-term benefits from an extended period of practical action in the field. Organizations like the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), the University of Pennsylvania’s Stripper Well Consortium, and Texas A & M’s Institute for Innovation and Design in Engineering all provide a venue to test new technology. While the aforementioned organizations are US-based, there are many like them throughout the world. Joint Industry Projects have a proven value. However, the need exists for more advanced projects dealing with higher level technologies. According to C.A. “Buddy” Bollfrass, P.E., Texas A&M University, “With all the new technologies in our industry now, companies are unsure about what to give us,” adding that, “We want projects that benefit the common good.” The common good is an important and unique feature that has attached itself to the oil and gas industry. When newer technology is developed through joint industry projects it accomplishes several goals. When carried out in an academic environment, the process helps to train tomorrow’s engineers. The end result is a more efficient oil business with less of an impact on the environment. Operating companies benefit through increased or enhanced production methods. Society benefits from an ample supply of mobility and energy to assist further advances in other industries.