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

Flow of data
(2018-04-03)
March 23, 2018 At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on energy infrastructure cybersecurity and emergency response on March 14, Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary Mark Menezes explained to committee members the severity and pervasiveness of cybersecurity threats, “When you have...
Technology background
(2018-04-03)
March 8, 2018 The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act (H.R.589/S.2503) by voice vote on March 8, 2018. This recent action comes over a year after the House passed H.R.589 and it was referred to the Senate committee for...
Excavator mining
(2018-03-09)
February 15, 2018 The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by President Donald Trump on February 9, contained language that provides tax incentives for carbon sequestration under a section of the Miscellaneous Provisions. The legislation expands the carbon capture, utilization, and...
Natural gas pump
(2018-03-09)
February 22, 2018 On February 22, the U.S. District Court for Northern California issued a preliminary injunction against suspension of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2016 rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation. The Obama-era rule seeks to reduce...
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...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the North Slope Borough case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Kern County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Tarrant and Johnson counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the DeSoto Parish case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Campbell County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Boone, Logan and Mingo counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management 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...

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

An earthquake-resistant pipeline crossing the San Andreas Fault at Cholame, California. Image Copyright © Michael Collier http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images
2012, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
In the last year or more, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about “fracking” — hydraulic fracturing associated with oil and natural gas production from shale formations. Whether you think it’s a great new technology, or it’s going to ruin the environment, or your opinion falls somewhere in between...
Cover for USGS FS 2013-3115 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A recent U.S. Geological Survey analysis of the Green River Formation of the Piceance Basin in western Colorado shows that about 920 and 352 billion barrels of oil are potentially recoverable from oil shale resources using oil-yield cutoffs of 15 and 25 gallons per ton (GPT), respectively. This...
Cover of MBMG 651 ; Source: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
2014, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
This report presents groundwater data collected through September 2013 from within the Montana portion of the Powder River Basin, with an emphasis on data collected during water year 2013 (October through September). This is the 11th year in which the Montana coalbed-methane (CBM) regional...
Cover of ofr2014-1; Source: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources
2014, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources (WA DGER)
The Wind River valley, a northwest-trending valley draining southeastward into the Columbia River Gorge near Washington’s southern border (Fig. 1), is a subject of interest in geothermal exploration. There are numerous thermal and mineral springs and seeps along and adjacent to this valley, several...
Cover of fs2015-3078; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean volumes of 53 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, 172 million barrels of shale oil, and 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids in the Barnett Shale of the Bend Arch–Fort Worth Basin Province of Texas.
Cover of GF30; Source: Ohio Geological Survey
2015, Ohio Geological Survey (OGS)
Since the discovery of coal in Ohio in 1755, the state has been a major player in the nation’s energy industry. Outside of coal, the most actively drilled, energy-bearing geologic formation has been the “Clinton” sandstone. The “Clinton” sandstone is a deposit in the subsurface of eastern Ohio...
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 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 B2198; Source: USGS
2003, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is assessing coal resources in Alaska and the conterminous United States to deter-mine the quantity, quality, and minability of coal likely to be used within the next 30 years. This assessment is critical because the utilization of clean (low sulfur content and low...
Cover for USGS FS 2014-3010 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey is developing approaches for the quantitative assessment of water and proppant involved with possible future production of continuous petroleum deposits. The assessment approach is an extension of existing U.S. Geological Survey petroleum-assessment methods, and it aims...