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

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...
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...

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 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 Critical Needs 2016 Report; Source: AGI
2015, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
The geoscience community has the knowledge, experience, and ingenuity to address a wide range of societal needs. We study Earth’s systems, the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Geoscience expertise allows us to better understand and...
Cover of R055; Source: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
2015, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
Geothermal resources can potentially contribute toward the renewable energy portfolio of White Pine County (WPC) in two ways: first through the direct conversion of heat energy into electricity, and the second by way of direct-use applications in which thermal energy is used as a source of heat for...
Cover of ofr20161033; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced emissions standards, known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), for a range of toxic constituents from coal-fired utility power stations and other combustion sources. This report presents the findings of an expert panel...
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 image of report; Image credit: NCKRI
2014, National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI)
BHP Billiton Petroleum (BHP) is conducting an extensive drilling program in Culberson and Loving counties, Texas, to develop unconventional oil reserves in the Wolfcamp and other shale reservoirs. Some of the operator’s wells have intersected cavities formed in the gypsum bedrock, resulting in...
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?
Cover of fs2016-3032 ; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) goals are to provide a more accurate assessment of the status of the water resources of the United States and assist in the determination of the quantity and quality of water that is available for beneficial uses...