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

Power lines. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
(2017-09-29)
September 14, 2017 Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) led a bipartisan coalition of 29 members to reintroduce the Carbon Capture Act (CCA) (H.R.3761) on September 14. This legislation incentivizes Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) projects, which use technologies to capture up to 90 percent...
The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-08-16)
July 12, 2017The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on July 12 to evaluate the potential development of offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order “...
Natural gas pump
(2017-08-16)
July 6, 2017Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3354 on July 6 to promote energy exploration and development through better management of leasing programs for onshore oil and gas resources and solid mineral resources on federal lands. The Order directs the Bureau of Land...
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...

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 USGS_2015-3058, Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey assessed mean volumes of 21 million barrels of oil (MMBO), 27 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 million barrels of natural gas liquids in two assessment units (AUs) that may contain continuous oil resources. Mean volumes of oil...
Cover of OFR 2016-1; Source: Ohio Geological Survey
2016, Ohio Geological Survey (OGS)
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Geological Survey (Ohio Geological Survey) performed an estimation of the remaining and available coal resources of the Lower Freeport (No. 6a) coal bed in Ohio. This study represents the first statewide estimation of Lower Freeport coal...
Cover of FS_2015-3050; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered mean volumes of 14 million barrels of conventional oil, 430 billion cubic feet of conventional gas, 34,028 billion cubic feet of continuous gas, and a mean total of 391...
Cover for IC-41; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1987, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
A strong dollar, record U.S. trade deficits, sagging oil prices, and metal production outstripping demand resulted in a relatively quiet and depressed year for most metal markets. During the first half of the year, the value of the U.S. dollar reached new highs internationally against the yen, mark...
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...
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 FindingProducing5.pdf; Source: American Institute of Professional Geologists
2006, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
What sort of activities are necessary to isolate and extract the various non-renewable resources our society is economically dependent upon? Are these resources immediately ready for use, or are they in need of refinement?
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Nuclear energy is carbon-free and has minimal environmental impact and close to zero carbon footprint. Of all emission free sources of electric power, nuclear currently (2008) provides 73.6% toward world demand. In the United States approximately 20% of the electricity is generated by nuclear power...
Cover of fs2016-3030 ; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a geology-based assessment of the continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources in the Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale within the Piceance Basin of the Uinta-Piceance Province (fig. 1). The previous USGS assessment of the Mancos Shale in the Piceance...
Cover for IC-40; Source: Idaho Geological Survey
1986, Idaho Geological Survey (IGS)
Fears of a collapsing currency, troubled banks, and massive debt forfeitures by foreign governments failed to materialize in 1984. The U.S. economy continued to rebound from the recent recession with strong growth. The Federal Reserve Board held firm on maintaining high interest rates to keep...