Mission Areas

Energy Resources Program

Programs L2 Landing Page

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.

Visit Our Program Website

Latest Publication

Latest Publication

New Interior Department Survey for Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve
USGS News Release (12/22/2017)

Read Press Release

Lab Update

Energy Geochemistry Laboratory Updates

Latest Notice of Data Quality Issue for the Inorganic Section of the Energy Geochemistry Laboratory, and Closure of the Inorganic Section (Program Update, March 10, 2017).

Lab Update Details

News

Image shows squares of permafrost
December 22, 2017

The Department of the Interior has announced petroleum assessments from the 

Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 22, 2017

Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Image shows a detail of a yellow mineral on white rock
November 14, 2017

Estimates of Potential Uranium in the Southern High Plains Could Equal Just Under One Year of U.S. Needs.

Filter Total Items: 5
USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 3, 2016

Oil and gas undiscovered resource assessments for conventional and unconventional accumulations, reserve growth evaluations, and energy economic analyses for the U.S. and world.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 3, 2016

U.S. coal resource and reserve assessments, U.S. and world coal quality, and coalbed gas.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 3, 2016

Research and evaluations of gas hydrates, geothermal, uranium, oil shale, and wind energy impacts on animals.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 3, 2016

Studies of environmental aspects of energy such as water from oil and gas production, geologic carbon sequestration, and mercury and selenium in the environment.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 3, 2016

Seismic data acquisition, processing, interpretation, and archiving; energy geochemistry laboratory; and geochemistry research.

Filter Total Items: 4
Spitsbergen location map
February 15, 2018

Data and calculations to support the study of the sea-air flux of methane and carbon dioxide on the West Spitsbergen margin in June 2014

This dataset collected on the West Spitsbergen margin during U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activity 2014-013-FA, which was carried out in conjunction with the University of Tromso and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel on the R/V Helmer Hanssen.

wind turbines
April 26, 2016

National Wind Turbine Map & Database

USGS has recently undertaken a project to develop a methodology for assessing wind energy impacts on wildlife at a national scale. The USGS data set provides industrial-scale onshore wind turbine locations in the United States through July 22, 2013.  

Energy Data
March 4, 2016

Energy Data

Browse all energy-related datasets.

Tools of the trade for a US Geological Survey engraver- the burin and the hand lens, resting on a contours engraving.
March 4, 2016

Energy Tools

View and download map-based energy data, search energy GIS data collections, browse the coal photomicrograph atlas and coal quality database, perform an advanced publications search, explore seismic reflection profiling data in Alaska, look at and print world geology maps, peruse the energy multimedia library, and more.

Filter Total Items: 1,387
Year Published: 2018

Assessment of Undiscovered Conventional Oil and Gas Resources in the Wyoming Thrust Belt Province, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah, 2017

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable resources of 26 million barrels of oil and 700 billion cubic feet of gas in the Wyoming Thrust Belt Province, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah.

Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Le, Phuong A.; Klett, Timothy R.; Gaswirth, Stephanie B.; Finn, Thomas M.; Marra, Kristen R.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.
Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Tennyson, M.E., Woodall, C.A., Brownfield, M.E., Le, P.A., Klett, T.R., Gaswirth, S.B., Finn, T.M., Marra, K.R., and Leathers-Miller, H.M., 2018, Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the Wyoming Thrust Belt Province, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3091, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173091.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of undiscovered continuous oil and gas resources in the Hanoi Trough, Vietnam, 2017

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous resources of 52 million barrels of oil and 591 billion cubic feet of gas in the Hanoi Trough of Vietnam.

Schenk, Christopher J.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Le, Phuong A.; Klett, Timothy R.; Finn, Thomas M.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.; Gaswirth, Stephanie B.; Marra, Kristen R.
Schenk, C.J., Tennyson, M.E., Mercier, T.J., Woodall, C.A., Le, P.A., Klett, T.R., Finn, T.M., Leathers-Miller, H.M., Gaswirth, S.B., and Marra, K.R., 2018, Assessment of undiscovered continuous oil and gas resources in the Hanoi Trough, Vietnam, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3086, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173086.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the North-Central Montana Province, 2017

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable resources of 55 million barrels of oil and 846 billion cubic feet of gas in the North-Central Montana Province.

Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Le, Phuong A.; Klett, Timothy R.; Gaswirth, Stephanie B.; Finn, Thomas M.; Pitman, Janet K.; Marra, Kristen R.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.
Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Brownfield, M.E., Tennyson, M.E., Woodall, C.A., Le, P.A., Klett, T.R., Gaswirth, S.B., Finn, T.M., Pitman, J.K., Marra, K.R., and Leathers-Miller, H.M., 2018, Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the North-Central Montana Province, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3092, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173092.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of undiscovered continuous oil and gas resources in the Bohaiwan Basin Province, China, 2017

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous resources of 2.0 billion barrels of oil and 20.3 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Bohaiwan Basin Province, China.

Schenk, Christopher J.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Finn, Thomas M.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Le, Phuong A.; Klett, Timothy R.; Gaswirth, Stephanie B.; Marra, Kristen R.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.; Potter, Christopher J.
Schenk, C.J., Tennyson, M.E., Mercier, T.J., Woodall, C.A., Finn, T.M., Brownfield, M.E., Le, P.A., Klett, T.R., Gaswirth, S.B., Marra, K.R., Leathers-Miller, H.M., and Potter, C.J., 2018, Assessment of undiscovered continuous oil and gas resources in the Bohaiwan Basin Province, China, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3082, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173082.

Year Published: 2018

Accurate ocean bottom seismometer positioning method inspired by multilateration technique

The positioning of ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) is a key step in the processing flow of OBS data, especially in the case of self popup types of OBS instruments. The use of first arrivals from airgun shots, rather than relying on the acoustic transponders mounted in the OBS, is becoming a trend and generally leads to more accurate positioning...

Benazzouz, Omar; Pinheiro, Luis M.; Matias, Luis M. A.; Afilhado, Alexandra; Herold, Daniel; Haines, Seth S.
Benazzouz, O., Pinheiro, L. M., Matias, L. M., Afilhado, A., Herold, D., Haines, S. S., 2018, Accurate Ocean Bottom Seismometer Positioning Method Inspired by Multilateration Technique, Mathematical Geosciences, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11004-017-9719-5.

Year Published: 2018

The Colorado River and its deposits downstream from Grand Canyon in Arizona, California, and Nevada

Understanding the evolution of the Colorado River system has direct implications for (1) the processes and timing of continental-scale river system integration, (2) the formation of iconic landscapes like those in and around Grand Canyon, and (3) the availability of groundwater resources. Spatial patterns in the position and type of Colorado River...

Crow, Ryan S.; Block, Debra L.; Felger, Tracey J.; House, P. Kyle; Pearthree, Philip A.; Gootee, Brian F.; Youberg, Ann M.; Howard, Keith A.; Beard, L. Sue
Crow, R.S., Block, D., Felger, T.J., House, P.K., Pearthree, P.A., Gootee, B.F., Youberg, A.M., Howard, K.A., and Beard, L.S., 2018, The Colorado River and its deposits downstream from Grand Canyon in Arizona, California, and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1005, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181005.

Year Published: 2018

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Jan Mayen Microcontinent Province, 2008

The Jan Mayen Microcontinent encompasses a rectangular, mostly submarine fragment of continental crust that lies north of Iceland in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. These continental rocks were rifted away from the eastern margin of Greenland as a consequence of a westward jump of spreading centers from the now-extinct Aegir Ridge to the...

Moore, T.E.; Gautier, D.L.; Moore, Thomas E.; Pitman, Janet K.
Moore, T.E., and Pitman, J.K., 2018, Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Jan Mayen Microcontinent Province, 2008, chap. L of Moore, T.E., and Gautier, D.L., eds., The 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1824, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1824L.

Year Published: 2018

Equilibrium and non-equilibrium controls on the abundances of clumped isotopologues of methane during thermogenic formation in laboratory experiments: Implications for the chemistry of pyrolysis and the origins of natural gases

Multiply isotopically substituted molecules (‘clumped’ isotopologues) can be used as geothermometers because their proportions at isotopic equilibrium relative to a random distribution of isotopes amongst all isotopologues are functions of temperature. This has allowed measurements of clumped-isotope abundances to be used to constrain formation...

Shuai, Yanhua; Douglas, Peter M.J.; Zhang, Shuichang; Stolper, Daniel A.; Ellis, Geoffrey S.; Lawson, Michael; Lewan, Michael; Formolo, Michael; Mi, Jingkui; He, Kun; Hu, Guoyi; Eiler, John M.
Shuai, T., Douglas, P.M.J., Zhang, S., Stolper, D.A., Ellis, G.S., Lawson, M., Lewan, M.D., Formolo, M., Mi, J., He, K., Hu, G., Eiler, J.M., 2017, Equilibrium and non-equilibrium controls on the abundances of clumped isotopologues of methane during thermogenic formation in laboratory experiments: Implications for the chemistry of pyrolysis and the origins of natural gases: Geochimica et Cosmochinica Acta, Volume 223, 15 February 2018, Pages 159-174. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.11.024

Year Published: 2018

Punctuated sediment discharge during early Pliocene birth of the Colorado River: Evidence from regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology

The Colorado River in the southwestern U.S. provides an excellent natural laboratory for studying the origins of a continent-scale river system, because deposits that formed prior to and during river initiation are well exposed in the lower river valley and nearby basinal sink. This paper presents a synthesis of regional stratigraphy,...

Dorsey, Rebecca J.; O’Connell, Brennan; McDougall-Reid, Kristin; Homan, Mindy B.
Rebecca J. Dorsey, Brennan O'Connell, Kristin McDougall, and Mindy B. Homan, 2018, Punctuated sediment discharge during early Pliocene birth of the Colorado River; evidence from regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology: Sedimentary Geology, v. 363, p. 1-33, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.09.018.

Year Published: 2018

Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China)

Adakitic intrusions are supposed to have a close genetic and spatial relationship to porphyry Cu deposits. However, the genesis of adakitic intrusions is still under dispute. Here, we describe newly discovered intrusive complex rocks, which are composed of ore-bearing, layered magnetite-bearing gabbroic and adakitic rocks in Jiamate, East Junggar...

Hong, Tao; Xu, Xing-Wang; Gao, Jun; Peters, Stephen; Zhang, Di; Jielili, Reyaniguli; Xiang, Peng; Li, Hao; Wu, Chu; You, Jun; Liu, Jie; Ke, Qiang
Tao Hong, Xing-Wang Xu, Jun Gao, Stephen G. Peters, Di Zhang, Reyaniguli Jielili, Peng Xiang, Hao Li, Chu Wu, Jun You, Jie Liu, Qiang Ke, 2017, Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China). Lithos, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2017.11.004.

Year Published: 2018

Position-specific 13C distributions within propane from experiments and natural gas samples

Site-specific carbon isotope measurements of organic compounds potentially recover information that is lost in a conventional, ‘bulk’ isotopic analysis. Such measurements are useful because isotopically fractionating processes may have distinct effects at different molecular sites, and thermodynamically equilibrated populations of molecules tend...

Piasecki, Alison; Sessions, Alex L.; Lawson, Michael; Ferreira, A.A.; Santos Neto, E. V.; Ellis, Geoffrey S.; Lewan, Michael; Eilers, J.M.
Piasecki, A., Sessions, A.L., Lawson, M., Ferreira, A. A., Santos Neto, E.V., Ellis, G.S., Lewan, M.D., Eiler, J.M., 2018, Position-specific 13C distributions within propane from experiments and natural gas samples: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 220, 1 January 2018, Pages 110-124. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.09.042

Year Published: 2018

Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter

Soil organic matter (SOM) supports the Earth's ability to sustain terrestrial ecosystems, provide food and fiber, and retains the largest pool of actively cycling carbon. Over 75% of the soil organic carbon (SOC) in the top meter of soil is directly affected by human land use. Large land areas have lost SOC as a result of land use practices, yet...

Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Ahlström, Anders; Blankinship, Joseph C.; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Lawrence, Corey; Loisel, Julie; Malhotra, Avni; Jackson, Robert B.; Ogle, Stephen M.; Phillips, Claire; Ryals, Rebecca; Todd-Brown, Katherine; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vergara, Sintana E.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca; Keiluweit, Marco; Heckman, Katherine; Crow, Susan E.; Silver, Whendee L.; DeLonge, Marcia; Nave, Lucas E.
Harden JW, Hugelius G, Ahlström A, et al. Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter. Glob Change Biol. 2017;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13896

Filter Total Items: 52
Image shows squares of permafrost
2017 (approx.)

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Image shows coal being loaded into trucks at a coal mine
2016 (approx.)

Coal is loaded into trucks at the Trapper Mine in northwest Colorado.

Image shows a large black stone with a silver sign in front
July 20, 2016

Cannel coal is a type of bituminous coal, which is the second-highest rank of coal (just behind anthracite). This particular sample has a high carbon content with high pollen and spore content as well. Unlike most bituminous coal, Cannel coal can be carved into ornaments. This sample came from the Eastern Interior Coalfield in Kentucky.

Image shows four men in visibility gear and hard hats at a coal mine
2016 (approx.)

Coal project personnel visiting Trapper Mine in northwest Colorado in June, 2016.

Image shows a drill rig against blue mountains
June 3, 2016

The USGS Core Research Center collaborated with the USGS Energy Resources Program to drill a core from the Mancos Shale to aid in the oil and gas assessment. Image Credit: Joshua Hicks, USGS.

Image shows a woman in a green coat working with a drill core
June 3, 2016

USGS scientist Sarah Hawkins, lead scientist for the Mancos Shale assessment, examining a core drilled by the USGS Core Research Center. This core provided valuable data for the assessment. Image credit: Joshua Hicks, USGS.

Image shows sunrise through a drill rig
June 3, 2016

USGS scientists drill a test core into the Mancos Shale to aid in the assessment for oil and gas resources. Credit: Joshua Hicks.

Image shows a landscape of the Southern High Plains
2015 (approx.)

The Southern High Plains of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. USGS conducted a uranium assessment in this region in 2015.

Image shows a sample of the mineral finchite with a chair wheel for scale
2015 (approx.)

A sample of finchite, a newly discovered uranium mineral. Finchite is the yellow material on the surface of the rock. Finchite is found in the late Pleistocene sediments deposited during the Illinoian glacial stage. It was first observed in Martin County, Texas. Read more about our uranium research here

Image shows a detail of a yellow mineral on white rock
2015 (approx.)

A uranium-vanadate mineral in calcrete. This sample came from near the Sulfur Springs Draw in Texas. USGS conducted an assessment of uranium resources in this region in 2015.

Image shows a man examine rock layers
2015 (approx.)

USGS scientist Bradley Van Gosen examines rock layers for the newly discovered mineral finchite near Lamesa, Texas. Van Gosen was the first to recognize the existence of the new mineral, which was named for long-time USGS uranium geologist Warren Finch. Read more about our uranium research here

 

For our full listing of current Press Releases, Technical Announcements, USGS & Outside Publications, Field Reports, and Science Highlights 

Energy News and Current Publications
Filter Total Items: 41
Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 22, 2017

Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Image shows coal being loaded into trucks at a coal mine
October 26, 2017

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported

Image shows four men in visibility gear and hard hats at a coal mine
October 23, 2017

Although often associated with helping fuel the Nation’s growth during the Industrial Revolution, coal is very much part of our space-age present. In 2016, coal-fired power plants provided 30.4 percent of the country’s electricity, and it is an important source of employment in many states.

Drill Rig at the Mt. Elbert Test Site
October 20, 2017

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

Image shows a rock cairn on a snowy peak with the sun on the horizon
October 16, 2017

When can ice yield fire? That’s the burning question at the heart of one of USGS’s longest-running research programs to date: the exploration of gas hydrates.

Image shows two scientists in hard hats collecting a research core aboard a drill rig
October 11, 2017

Eureka often accompanies this EarthWord.

Image shows an excavator in front of a coal seam
October 6, 2017

No, this EarthWord isn’t a trait of adult petroleum basins, but it is related to how old they are...

Drill Rig and American Flag
October 5, 2017

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported.

Image shows an oil refinery with mountains in the background
October 4, 2017

This EarthWord is probably what you’ve been doing thanks to our fantastic puns...

Filter Total Items: 3