Oil and Gas

Petroleum ("oil") and natural gas are hydrocarbons that formed over millions of years under heat and pressure deep in the Earth. Petroleum and natural gas are the largest sources of energy in the United States.

Basics

The Aleyska pipeline in Alaska that transports crude oil from Prudhoe Bay down to Valdez. Image Copyright © Larry Fellows, Arizona Geological Survey.

Petroleum ("oil") and natural gas form from tiny plants and algae that settled in seas or lakes millions of years ago. This organic material reacts under heat and pressure to form oil and/or gas.[1] Petroleum products include gasoline, heating oil, propane, and kerosene. Not to be confused with gasoline, natural gas is mostly methane — a clear, odorless gas. When burned, oil and gas release abundant energy as well as carbon dioxide and water.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Latest News

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-09-14)
August 8, 2017 The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) declared on August 8 that the Gulf of Mexico is safe for seismic surveys. BOEM’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), a review conducted in tandem with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the...
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...
Natural gas pump
(2017-07-12)
June 15, 2017On June 15, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posted a notice in the Federal Register indefinitely postponing certain compliance dates within the Methane Waste Prevention Rule. Originally published on November 18, 2016, the Methane Waste Prevention Rule aims to reduce the loss of...
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...
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...
Natural gas pump
(2017-03-06)
February 7, 2017 Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Federal Land Freedom Act (S.335) and the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands Act (S.334) on February 7. These bills remove the authority of federal decision-makers to manage  energy resources on public lands. Sen....

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...

Research Database Publications

Cover of GCCC_PhaseI_ResultsSECAR010506; Source: Bureau of Economic Geology
2006, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG)
CO2 EOR is useful only in areas oil production, and is most useful only in certain reservoirs with lighter oil, moderate depth, unitized, with reasonable sweep efficiency. The volume of CO2 that could be sold for EOR is large, but inadequate to solve the GHG issue. However, CO2 EOR is a great...
Cover of PIC36 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
2015, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
Earthquake activity in the Earth's crust is known as seismicity. When linked to human activities, it is commonly referred to as "induced seismicity." Industries that have been associated with induced seismicity include oil and gas production, mining, geothermal energy production, construction,...
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...
Cover of OFR567; Source: New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
2015, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR)
In the 2004 RFD it was noted that most existing Mancos Shale and Gallup Sandstone reservoirs were approaching depletion, producing less than 30 barrels of oil per month per well, and as a result were marginally economic, and candidates to be P&A in the near future. The conclusion was a minimal...
Cover of OFR02-38 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
2002, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
During the last four years wellhead prices for oil and gas have fluctuated widely. The price of oil reached a low of $8.10 per barrel in December 1998. A high of $30.70 per barrel was recorded in November 2000. Gas prices spiked to $8.06 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in January of 2001. However,...
Cover of OFR98-50 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
1998, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
This Open-File report builds on Carr and Gerlach (1997) in an attempt to develop a perspective on the trends in the relative importance of stripper well production to Kansas oil and gas production. Stripper wells are economically marginal oil and gas wells that produce at relatively low rates. The...
Cover of PetroleumIssuesandAnswers.pdf ; Image Credit: American Institute of Professional Geologists
1999, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Petroleum is the principal source of energy in the U.S. and the source of all petrochemicals. It is critical to our national security. to our economic well-being and our life style. The oil and gas industry is the only industry currently prepared to fuel this nation. Dismantlement of this domestic...
Cover of GeologyEconomy2.pdf; Source: American Institute of Professional Geologists
2006, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
The United States depends on many mineral commodities which it once exported. High costs of mining and production, and in certain instances, a lack of local supply, make it more economically sound to import many resources from countries where production is not so expensive. According to the United...
Cover of OFR98-56 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
1998, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
As a result of a drastic drop in oil prices and relatively soft gas prices during 1998, the overall revenue generated by oil and gas production in Kansas is expected to decrease from 1997 levels by more than $600 million at the wellhead (Table 1). This decrease will have a significant impact on the...
Cover of OFR06-31 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
2006, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
During FY2006, a total of 1,784 operators reported oil production of  34,830,549 barrels, which is up 1.4 million barrels from the 33,450,046 barrels reported in FY2005 (Kansas Open-File report 2005-52, http://www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/publication/2005/2005-52/index.html). The top 20 operators...