Energy

All of the energy we use comes from the Earth, its atmosphere, or the Sun. Some resources are mined or extracted, like coal, uranium, oil, and gas. Others, like wind, solar, tidal, biomass, and hydropower resources, are harnessed at the Earth’s surface. Geoscientists play an essential role in developing energy resources and evaluating their environmental impacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

The July 2017 Cover of GSA Today
(2017-07-11)
The Geological Society of America (GSA) is seeking comment from members on a recently published draft position statement on Geoscience and Energy Policy. The draft statement is available in-full in the July 2017 issue of GSA Today. Starting from the 2016 "Geoscience for America's Critical Needs,"...
U.S. Capitol with flag
(2017-06-09)
May 30, 2017 The Department of Energy (DOE) requests public comments and information regarding the implementation of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” Published in the Federal Register on May 30, the DOE’s proposed rule asks for...
Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida Coast
(2017-06-09)
May 4, 2017 On May 4, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S.1041). This bill would extend the current oil and gas leasing ban off Florida’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico from 2022 until 2027. It would also add Florida to the list of states that are...
Atlantic waves
(2017-06-09)
May 1, 2017 On May 10, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it will reconsider applications from ocean seismic survey companies to carry out geological and geophysical activities off the Atlantic coast. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released Secretarial Order 3350 to further...
The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-05-18)
April 28, 2017 President Donald Trump released an executive order targeting the five-year oil and gas leasing plan finalized under the Obama administration. The order, entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” encourages exploration and production on the Outer Continental...
Earth
(2017-05-18)
April 26, 2017 The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on April 26 to examine a discussion draft of a bill that would amend certain provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to streamline management and licensing processes for nuclear waste disposal...
The White House
(2017-04-10)
March 28, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28. The order rescinds several environmental regulations instituted under the Obama Administration. It contains provisions that target various energy sectors, including coal...
Natural gas pump
(2017-04-10)
March 15, 2017 On March 15, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would authorize more lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). S.665, the Unleashing American Energy Act of 2017, would enable the Department of the Interior (DOI) to add additional lease sales to an existing...
Drilling rig
(2017-04-10)
March 6, 2017 The Department of the Interior (DOI) will offer 73 million acres, including all available areas in the Gulf of Mexico, for oil and gas exploration and development, according to an announcement from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on March 6. The proposed lease sale is scheduled for...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2017-04-10)
March 2, 2017 A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S.512) on March 2. The bill aims to modernize nuclear energy regulations and promote innovation in the nuclear sector. S.512 focuses on reforming the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC)...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the North Slope Borough case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Alaska's North Slope Borough can be found here...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Kern County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Kern County, California can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Tarrant and Johnson counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, Texas can...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the DeSoto Parish case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana can be found...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Campbell County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in Campbell County, Wyoming can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Boone, Logan and Mingo counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in West Virginia's Boone, Logan, and Mingo counties...

Fig. 1. Exposure of sandstone capping an economic coal bed. Credit: J. Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Defining the Problem Despite Pennsylvania’s long history as a major coal producer, information on the coal geology (Fig. 1), remaining resources, and extent of past mining is not available for many areas of the state. Such information is critical for present and future coal exploration and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of FS2015-3005; Source: USGS
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A range of geological parameters relevant to mining oil shale have been examined for the Mahogany zone of the Green River Formation in the Piceance Basin, Colorado, and Uinta Basin, Utah, using information available in the U.S. Geological Survey Oil Shale Assessment database. Basinwide discrete and...
Cover of OFR_13-01; Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
2013, Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (VA DGMR)
The information in this report was compiled for and presented to the participants of the 2008 Southeastern U.S. Mesozoic Basins Energy Resources Potential Workshop held in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey published a new assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas...
Cover image of position statement; Image credit: GSA
2016, Geological Society of America (GSA)
GSA recognizes the essential role of government in conducting and supporting research that contributes to (1) developing a steady, sustainable mineral and energy supply for a resilient society; (2) developing renewable energy resources, recycling, resource substitution, and strategies to increase...
Cover of PP1654; Source: USGS
2005, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Federal lands included in the Gallatin and Custer National Forests contain more than 4 million acres, in 13 discontinuous blocks across southern Montana and into western South Dakota. In order to meet the Forest Service’s most urgent needs for information about the potential for undiscovered...
Cover of RI-111; Source: North Dakota Geological Survey
2012, North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS)
The Tyler Formation (Lower Pennsylvanian) is a regionally extensive, organic rich unit that contains, over a significant part of its range, good to excellent quantities of kerogen. The richest kerogen is situated in the deepest portion of the Willston Basin (McKenzie County) and consists of marine...
Cover of OFR2014-1 ; Source: Oklahoma Geological Survey
2014, Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS)
Water and energy resources are fundamentally connected and have created what some refer to as the energy-water or water-energy nexus. A common goal of water and energy management is to maximize the supply of one while minimizing the use of the other. Water management in Oklahoma has become an...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Coal is the world’s most abundant hydrocarbon resource.  Historically, coal has been used as an energy source for heating and electrical generation.  These uses will continue into the future, with a continued decrease in coal used for heating but increasing demand to fuel electrical...
Cover of ofr-15-06; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2015, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Hookers Hot Springs is located approximately 70 km (40 miles) east of Tucson, Arizona, and is within the Hookers Hot Springs 7.5’ Quadrangle in the southern Galiuro Mountains. The hot spring itself is on the southwest flank of the wide wash in Hot Springs Canyon, east of the San Pedro River. Water...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Biofuels, biomass, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, and wind make up the largest renewable energy resource group in the world. These resources are renewable and sustainable, so a statement of current reserves is generally hard to estimate, with limiting factors such as water, land and the...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
World-wide, about half – the easy half - of the original oil Resource has been produced. Considerable exploration has taken place in all but the most inaccessible basins, and so the potential for huge new discoveries is extremely limited (Fig.1). Further, the average size of new fields decreases as...