By Austin Business Journal

The University of Texas was picked to serve on a new group formed to devise safer drilling and oil production practices.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the Gulf Project Tuesday during a press conference in Houston, saying it will focus on developing and testing current equipment and technologies for the next generation of oil and gas drilling. The coalition will also develop better monitoring and training to prevent and respond to oil spills.

The Gulf Project includes researchers, policy experts and state officials. Texas A&M University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Railroad Commission are among the participants.

â¿¿As leaders in discovery in energy research, we believe it is higher educationâ¿¿s duty to develop responsible methods for collecting conventional and alternative energy resources and we are confident that our collective research capabilities will serve our state and nation well in this endeavor," UT System Regents' Chairman Colleen McHugh said.

The state produces an estimated 20 percent of the nation's oil and about a quarter of its natural gas. The sector employs about 250,000 people earning about $35 billion in total wages.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010