The state Department of Natural Resources announced the awards for the Utah Geological Survey on Monday.
Officials say the first study will address the disposal of saline water that's naturally produced in gas wells in eastern Utah's Uinta Basin.
Researchers plan to identify better ways to deal with the water, which can be expensive to safely dispose and affects the cost of developing gas resources.
The other study will look at Utah's shale formations and explore the possibility of drilling them for petroleum.
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