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 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...
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...

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 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 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 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 of USGS_2015-3052, source: US Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered resources of 214 million barrels of oil, 329 billion cubic feet of associated/dissolved natural gas, and 14 million barrels of natural gas liquids in the informal Uteland Butte member of the Green...
Cover of O96-4 ; Source: Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
1996, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
Recent developments in the energy supply of the Pacific Northwest, such as the continuing controversy over the impact of hydro dams on salmon, and the closure of the Trojan nuclear plant suggest that alternative energy sources may become more economically competitive. Although the geothermal...
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...
Cover of ofr20161087; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Solar power represents an important and rapidly expanding component of the renewable energy portfolio of the United States (Lovich and Ennen, 2011; Hernandez and others, 2014). Understanding the impacts of renewable energy development on wildlife is a priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service...
Cover of USGS_2015-3064, Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
An important and sometimes overlooked aspect of contemporary natural gas exploration, development, and delivery activities is the geographic profile and spatial footprint that these activities have on the land surface. The function of many ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, in...
Cover of FS-015 ; Source: Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
2015, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Department of Environmental Quality, and Water Resources Department regulate and issue permits for the drilling and operation of oil or gas wells, including wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing technology, commonly known as fracking.