Advances in Earth Science: Offshore Energy

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Offshore energy is a huge and growing resource. About 18 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas is produced offshore and production is growing. Globally, the offshore provides 30 percent of oil and natural gas.  Offshore wind is also a growing source of electricity, especially in Europe. The U.S. has significant offshore wind power potential, but no commercial wind facilities are in development. Ongoing technological advancements assure all these resources will continue to grow while addressing heightened environmental concerns.

This briefing will bring together experts from academia, industry and government to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water. Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.

  • U.S. offshore oil production, produced under enhanced federal regulation, is on the rise after a post-Macondo drop off.
  • Offshore production successes are the result of technological innovations, from geophysical techniques used to image subsea reservoirs, new drilling techniques for deeper water and deeper wells, and subsea production facilities.
  • Wind energy is moving offshore. Earth sciences help to identify wind resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Offshore energy production supports many large and small businesses and contributes to state and federal revenue streams. A second offshore energy briefing will discuss renewable energy technologies.


  • Buford Pollett, Moderator, Genave King Rogers Assistant Professor of Energy Law, University of Tulsa
  • Kristin Wood, Regional Chief Exploration Geoscientist, Shell
  • Eric van Oort, B. J. Lancaster Professor of Petroleum Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
  • James Bennett, Chief, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Date: May 16, 2016  1:00 pm
Location: 1324 Longworth House Office Building

Presented by: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geophysical Union, American Geosciences Institute, Association of American State Geologists, Geological Society of America, National Ground Water Association, National Science Foundation—Directorate for Geosciences, Soil Science Society of America, U.S. Geological Survey

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