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National Assessment of Oil and Gas Project: Areas of Historical Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in the United States

May 3, 2008

This report contains maps and associated spatial data showing historical oil and gas exploration and production in the United States. Because of the proprietary nature of many oil and gas well databases, the United States was divided into cells one-quarter square mile and the production status of all wells in a given cell was aggregated. Base-map reference data are included, using the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Map, the USGS and American Geological Institute (AGI) Global GIS, and a World Shaded Relief map service from the ESRI Geography Network. A hardcopy map was created to synthesize recorded exploration data from 1859, when the first oil well was drilled in the U.S., to 2005. In addition to the hardcopy map product, the data have been refined and made more accessible through the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. The cell data are included in a GIS database constructed for spatial analysis via the USGS Internet Map Service or by importing the data into GIS software such as ArcGIS. The USGS internet map service provides a number of useful and sophisticated geoprocessing and cartographic functions via an internet browser. Also included is a video clip of U.S. oil and gas exploration and production through time.