Energy Resources Program


The Energy Resources Program conducts research and assessments to advance the understanding of the Nation’s energy resources. We study processes critical to the formation, accumulation, occurrence and alteration of geologically based energy resources; prepare resource assessments; and evaluate the environmental and socioeconomic effects of energy resource occurrence, production and use.

Our Science

Our Science

Understanding the national and global availability of resources as well as the environmental impacts of their development is essential for strategic decision making related to the nation’s energy mix.

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News & Highlights

News & Highlights

Current Press Releases, Technical Announcements, Publications, Field Reports, and Science Highlights. 

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Date published: October 29, 2020

USGS Estimates Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources in the Austin Chalk Formation of the U.S. Gulf Coast

The Austin Chalk and Tokio and Eutaw Formations of the Gulf Coast Basin contain a mean of 6.9 billion barrels of oil and 41.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. In comparison, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States used 7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2019.

Date published: October 16, 2020

New Patent Helps Coalbed Methane Research

Far underground, in a Wyoming well-bore drilled through rock and coal, exciting research is bubbling up. USGS researchers are studying how bacteria and other microbes may play a role in the formation of natural gas from coal, and they’re using one of USGS’ newest patents to do it. This patent is the subsurface environmental sampler, or SES.

Date published: October 14, 2020

Mixing Oil and Water

In south Texas, a wide band of rocks stretches from the Mexican border all the way to western Louisiana, forming the highly productive Eagle Ford Group. These formations, made up primarily of shale and mudstone, are some of the most prolific oil and gas-producing rocks in the United States.


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Year Published: 2020

Utica shale play oil and gas brines: Geochemistry and factors influencing wastewater management

The Utica and Marcellus Shale Plays in the Appalachian Basin are the fourth and first largest natural gas producing plays in the United States, respectively. Hydrocarbon production generates large volumes of brine (“produced water”) that must be disposed of, treated, or reused. Though Marcellus brines have been studied extensively, there are few...

Blondes, Madalyn S.; Shelton, Jenna L.; Engle, Mark A; Trembly, Jason; Doolan, Colin A.; Jubb, Aaron M.; Chenault, Jessica; Rowan, Elisabeth L.; Haefner, Ralph J.; Mailot, Brian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Four-dimensional thermal evolution of the East African Orogen: Accessory phase petrochronology of crustal profiles through the Tanzanian Craton and Mozambique Belt, northeastern Tanzania

U–Pb petrochronology of deep crustal xenoliths and outcrops across northeastern Tanzania track the thermal evolution of the Mozambique Belt and Tanzanian Craton following the Neoproterozoic East African Orogeny (EAO) and subsequent Neogene rifting. At the craton margin, the upper–middle crust record thermal quiescence since the Archean (2.8–2.5...

Apen, Francisco E.; Rudnick, Roberta L.; Cottle, John M.; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R.C.; Blondes, Madalyn S.; Piccoli, Phil; Seward, Gareth

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Year Published: 2020

Estimating the net costs of brine production and disposal to expand pressure-limited dynamic capacity for basin-scale CO2 storage in a saline formation

If carbon capture and storage (CCS) needs to be deployed at basin- or larger-scale, it is likely that multiple sites will be injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the same geologic formation. This could lead to excessive pressure buildup, overlapping induced pressure fronts, and pressure interference with neighboring uses of the subsurface....

Anderson, Steven T.; Jahediesfanjani, Hossein