On March 19, 1983 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of Wyoming entered into a Cooperative Agreement, effective April 1, 1983, whereby the University of Wyoming, through the formation of a nonprofit corporation known as the University of Wyoming Research Corporation (UWYRC), took responsibility -For operation of what was previously the federally owned and operated Laramie Energy Technology Center (LETC). The Western Research Institute (WRI) was subsequently formed as an affiliate of UWYRC to conduct the research within the Cooperative Agreement and to pursue related research in conjunction with other organizations. Since its inception in 1923, research efforts at what later became LETC have always been directed to specific fossil energy topics. From initial work on heavy petroleum products of the Rocky Mountain region, the focus of the efforts has changed over the years with national priorities to its involvement in Oil Shale, Underground Coal Gasification and Tar Sand. Following passage of the Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act in 1944, oil shale research activities began with laboratory and bench-scale experiments. This early work consisted mainly of the evaluation of surface retorting concepts, the development of measurement and analytical methods, the evaluation of shale oil upgrading and refining methods, and the characterization of shale oil and its products. During the 1960s and 1970s, research efforts were redirected to in sity methods because it was believed that surface retorting technology was ready for scale-up to commercial size. Initial investigatiors of resource recovery by true in sity methods were begun in 1958. Pilot-scale experiments were initiated in 1965 to verify the feasibility of modified (increased void volume) in situ concepts. In 1967, environment studies on oil shale were initiated an the first true in sity field experiments were begun at the Rock Springs, Wyomnig site. Continuing through the 1970's, several concepts for true in situ retorting were tested at the Rock Springs site. The chemistry and physics of modified in tsity concepts habe been investigated in laboratory and larger-scale experiments. Until the mid-1970s the U.S. tar sand resource was the object only small-scale production efforts; primarily for use as paving material. Significant research in tar sand began in 1970. Since then, interest by industry in the U.S. tar sand resource has become quite intense. Interests in the potential for in situ gasification of coal led to the development of the federal Underground Coal Gasification program in 1972. LETC was charged with the lead responsibility for implementation of this program. From the early successes of field experiments near Hanna,Wyoming, the program expanded to include research and development studies. These studies, which examined alternative process concepts applied to coal resources with different geophysical and chemical characteristics, were integrated into the program through implementation management. Fossil energy research, with in situ emphasis, has extended far beyond the immediate Laramie area. In addition to the field research sites in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, geochemical evaluations of oil Shale and tar sand resources and underground coal gasification sites have been conducted throughout the United States. During the past few years, the Institute has expanded its horizons internationally, answering requests for expertise and consultation from the United Nations and such countries as Morocco, Israel, Canada, Yugoslavia, the USSR, Brazil, the People's Republic of China, and France. Many international visitors for special studies have been to the Laramie facility over the years. The main WRI facility in Laramie occupies a 2.13-acre site on the northwest corner adjacent to the University of Wyoming campus. The main building is a four-story research laboratory. housing 41 laboratories, 55 offices, a technical library, a computer center, and maintenance facilities. The WRI Annex has an additional 18 offices, a large conference room, general shop space, and storage areas. Other buildings on the site house hot oil storage, high-pressure refining equipment, oil shale crushing machinery, and geologic core storage laboratories. The North Site, located just north of Laramie, has a 10-ton and a 150-ton retort that simulate conditions for in situ retorting of oil shale and a low-void retort for conducting studies under low-void retorting conditions. A unique, high-pressure vessel for conducting special experiments on oil shale, coal and tar sand has recently been installed. The oil shale, underground coal gasification and tar sand resources represent an enormous untapped potential energy supply for the United States. Most of the most economically recoverable of these resources are found in the western states. By most definitions, none of these resources have been commercially developed to date in the United States. The reasons for the lack of development are varied; e.g., institutional, political, economic, environmental restrictions, and insufficient technology base. The cutback in activities by Rio Blanco, Occidental Oil and Exxon and the operational problems of Union in oil shale, the passing of ARCO UCG program, and with it their commercial program in underground coal gasification, and the nondevelopment of tar sands by any company indicate the need for further research and development activities. The current surplus in world energy supplies provides a window in which research and development can be carried out in a rational manner to solve problems that must be addressed in order to have usable alternative energy sources when conventional energy sources become unavailable. DOE. Fossil Energy intends to continue fundamental research. The work conducted within WRI constitutes an integral part of that research and development effort. In the redirection of the Oil Shale program, WRI has been designated lead center for six activities of the program.