Energy

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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
(2018-02-06)
January 23, 2018 The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on January 23 that underscored concerns surrounding the reliability and resiliency of the electrical power system, particularly under certain weather conditions, such as the deep freeze or bomb cyclone that the U.S....
Atlantic waves
(2018-02-06)
January 19, 2018 On January 19, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing to identify and examine regulatory obstacles to offshore geological and geophysical resource surveying on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Congress is seeking compromises within...
Drilling rig
(2018-02-06)
January 18, 2018 On January 18, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing to assess the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) progress on eliminating burdens to domestic onshore energy production, pursuant to Secretarial Orders 3349 and 3354....
The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2018-02-06)
January 10, 2018 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced on January 4 plans for the development of the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024. The new Draft Proposed Program (DPP) aims to make more than 98 percent of the undiscovered...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2018-02-06)
January 8, 2018 On January 8, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) rejected a proposal that was submitted by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in September 2017 to subsidize the operating costs of coal and nuclear power plants, since the rule did not satisfy certain statutory standards....
The White House
(2018-01-04)
December 29, 2017 Following several executive orders issued by President Donald Trump earlier this year to suspend, revise, or rescind regulations or actions that unnecessarily burden the development of domestic energy resources, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Environmental Protection...
Drilling rig
(2018-01-04)
December 22, 2017 On December 22, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a new assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), pursuant to a secretarial order issued in May of this year to jump-start energy production and update resource...
Drilling rig
(2017-12-12)
November 20, 2017 Nebraska regulators from the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved the building of the Keystone XL pipeline on November 20. This pipeline would ship approximately 830,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the Commission, from Alberta, Canada through the state of Nebraska...
The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-12-12)
November 8, 2017 On November 8, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources introduced reconciliation legislation, fulfilling instructions in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution (H.Con.Res.71) for the committee to provide legislative recommendations to the Senate Committee on the...
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...

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...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Basics of Seismic Petroleum Exploration for New Hires
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

This course is intended as a basic review of seismic prospecting methods for locating and extracting oil and gas global resources. It begins with a review of world hydrocarbon reserves, production and consumption, as well as overall goals and methods which apply to petroleum exploratory efforts...

GOLI Course: Making Produced Water More Productive; Image credit: USGS/ Doug Duncan
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Geoscience is essential to our understanding and management of produced water, an inevitable byproduct of oil and gas development. This course provides a scientific and regulatory background of produced water, how it is commonly disposed, what opportunities exist for the re-use of produced water...

Research Database Publications

Cover of B136 ; Image credit: Utah Geological Survey
2016, Utah Geological Survey (UGS)
Paleozoic shales in Utah have tremendous untapped gas potential. These include the Mississippian/Pennsylvanian Manning Canyon Shale/Doughnut Formation and Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation of central and southeastern Utah, respectively. Shale beds within these formations are widespread, thick, buried...
Cover of MBMG 658; Source: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
2015, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
Montana and the surrounding states have a unique geology that presents many opportunities for valuable continuing research on mineral deposits. Research centered on economic geology and mineralogy can lead to a better understanding of the mineral deposits in this region, and thus the discovery of...
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 of PP1625f; Source: USGS
2009, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA), a multiyear project by the USGS Energy Resources Program, in partnership with State geological surveys in the coal producing regions of the United States. The NCRA is the first digital national coal-...
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2016, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
As oil and gas development increases around the country, NGWA reminds water well owners about the importance of testing their water wells prior to oil and gas well installation. This provides a baseline for comparison after oil and gas production.
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2016, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
While groundwater is indispensable for energy production, the reverse is also true, as energy is required for groundwater withdrawal, treatment, and delivery. Groundwater and energy are, therefore, closely interconnected, so as the demand for energy increases, the demand for groundwater increases...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Man-made emissions of carbon dioxide result primarily from fuel use.  The Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) 2008 International Energy Outlook estimates annual world carbon dioxide emissions were 28.1 billion metric tons in 2005 and are expected to grow to 42.3 billion metric tons by 2030....
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 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 fs2016-3036; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey assessed technically recoverable mean resources of 13 million barrels of oil, 22 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 million barrels of natural gas liquids in the Monterey Formation of the Los Angeles Basin Province, California.