KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – In conjunction with University of Tennessee purchasing, the UT Institute of Agriculture held a pre-bid proposal conference at its Cumberland Forest headquarters in Oliver Springs, Tenn., on June 21 for representatives of companies considering submitting a bid to become the university’s industry partner for a gas and oil research initiative. Fifteen persons were in attendance to learn more about the project and the processes involved in submitting proposals to the university.

While the conference was open to the public, its purpose was to give prospective industry partners information needed in developing proposals. Questions asked by prospective industry partners and answers provided will be published in an addendum to the request for proposals (RFP) and posted on the UT purchasing department website: http://purchasing.tennessee.edu. Follow the “Bidding Information” link to advertised proposals. The project is listed under Collective Number 30001591. The successful applicant’s proposal must be reviewed and approved by the State Building Commission prior to the finalization of the leasing contract.
 
Members of the public who wish to learn more about the RFP are encouraged to submit them by email to gas&oil@tennessee.edu.  Questions will be answered individually or collectively, in the case of multiple, similar or duplicate submissions. Submitted questions and answers will be posted on the website http://ag.tennessee.edu/gasandoil for all to see. To access questions and answers on the website, click on the “Questions” link along the top navigation bar.
 
The pre-proposal conference is part of the RFP process overseen by the university’s purchasing department and governed by established university policy and state regulations. Details of the RFP and related information can be found online: http://ag.tennessee.edu/gasandoil.
 
UTIA’s research initiative seeks to provide baseline data to advance best management practices specific to extracting natural gas and petroleum resources from the shale formations common throughout East Tennessee and the region. The university is seeking a lease agreement with private industry to extract the resources from its Cumberland Forest while scientists study the methodologies and their environmental effects. The properties in Scott and Morgan counties are documented to have reserves of natural gas and oil, and UTIA scientists say it is an ideal location for university-based research into societal concerns regarding natural gas and oil development.
 
The proposed fact-based, scientific investigation will seek to answer critical research questions regarding the relationships between the development of gas and oil resources through an extraction process called fracking and water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, geological shale and individual species of flora and fauna.
 
The Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center is an 11,500 acre field research laboratory that has been engaged in natural resources stewardship and research since 1936. The center is a regionally recognized leader in developing new technologies applicable to modern forestry and wildlife resources management and environmental stewardship. The center is one of 10 research and education centers in the UT Institute of Agriculture’s AgResearch system. Headquartered in Oak Ridge, the center is comprised of three forest units located in East and Middle Tennessee.
 
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
 
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Contacts:
 
Doug Edlund or Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 865-974-7141
 
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