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Friday, February 27, 2015

Evaluation of Development Options for Alaska North Slope Viscous and Heavy Oil

Outside Publication: Natural Resources Research
Current estimates of discovered viscous and heavy oil in Alaska’s North Slope are 12 billion barrels of oil-in-place and 12–18 billion barrels of oil-in-place, respectively (see Appendix 1 for conversion to SI units). Since the early 1990s to the end of 2010, cumulative viscous oil production has amounted to 150 million barrels, and there has been no commercial production of heavy oil...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Commercial Possibilities for Stranded Conventional Gas from Alaska’s North Slope

Journal: Natural Resources Research

Outside Publication
This study defines stranded conventional gas resources as gas in identified (discovered and appraised) conventional oil and gas accumulations which are not currently commercially producible for either physical or economic reasons. The discovered conventional North Slope gas is stranded because there is currently no transportation system to take the gas to a market.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meeting Asia's Future Gas Import Demand

Future Gas Import Demand with Stranded Natural Gas from central Asia, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Australia

This analysis shows the important contribution that stranded gas from central Asia, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Australia can make in meeting the projected demand for gas imports of China, India, Japan, and South Korea from 2020 to 2040. The estimated delivered costs of pipeline gas from stranded fields in Russia and Central Asia at Shanghai, China, are generally less than delivered costs of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Australia and Malaysia are initially the lowest-costs LNG suppliers. In the concluding section, it is argued that Asian LNG demand is price-sensitive and current Asian LNG pricing procedures are unlikely to be sustainable for gas import demand to attain maximum potential growth. Resource volumes in stranded fields evaluated can nearly meet projected import demands.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Role of Stranded Gas in Increasing Global Gas Supplies

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2013–1044
This report synthesizes the findings of three regional studies in order to evaluate, at the global scale, the contribution that stranded gas resources can make to global natural gas supplies. Stranded gas, as defined for this study, is natural gas in discovered conventional gas and oil fields that is currently not commercially producible for either physical or economic reasons. The regional studies evaluated the cost of bringing the large volumes of undeveloped gas in stranded gas fields to selected markets.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Role of Stranded Gas from Central Asia and Russia in Meeting Europe’s Future Import Demand for Gas

Outside Publication: Natural Resources Research
This study examines stranded gas from Russia and Central Asia and the role it can play in addressing Europe’s growing demand for imported natural gas requiring additional volumes of gas in excess of 130 trillion cubic feet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

VARBOOT: A spatial bootstrap program for semivariogram uncertainty assessment

Outside Publication: Computers & Geosciences
In applied geostatistics, the semivariogram is commonly estimated from experimental data, producing an empirical semivariogram for a specified number of discrete lags A computer program is described and provided for the assessment of those uncertainties.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Empirical Methods for Detecting Regional Trends and Other Spatial Expressions in Antrim Shale Gas Productivity

With Implications for Improving Resource Projections Using Local Nonparametric Estimation Techniques

Outside Publication: Natural Resources Research
The primary objectives of this research were to  investigate empirical methods for establishing regional trends in unconventional gas resources as exhibited by historical production data; and to determine whether or not incorporating additional knowledge of a regional trend in a suite of previously established local nonparametric resource prediction algorithms influences assessment results.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Survey of Stranded Gas and Delivered Costs to Europe of Selected Gas Resources

Outside Publication: Society of Petroleum Engineers
Stranded gas is natural gas in discovered fields that is currently not commercially producible for either physical or economic reasons.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Economic Analysis of the 2010 USGS Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the NPRA

Press Release & Publication
The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered, conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available online.



Summary graphs of undiscovered economic oil resources in (A) the entire North Slope study area and (B) the North Slope study area excluding the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Image: Summary of undiscovered economic
oil resources in North Slope of alaska
(from OFR 2009-1112).

The members of this project have prepared a number of analyses that constitute the economic components of energy resource assessments. They have also proposed enhancements to geologic assessment data and methods that make results of assessments immediately amenable to economic analysis. In addition, they apply theoretically sound valuation methodologies to assess the commercial value of currently marginal oil and gas resources, such as heavy oil, natural bitumen, stranded gas, and resources in high cost environments.

  • Economic components of undiscovered oil and gas assessments present estimates of the cost of finding, developing, producing, and transporting to market the undiscovered resources assessed by the USGS geologists.
  • The enhancement of assessment data and methods to include an economic dimension will lead to improved strategic decisions by public policymakers concerning national and international energy resources. Economic assessment of marginal oil resources includes the formulation and estimation of cost functions to extract heavy oil and bitumen in known deposits and to transform those resources to high value transportation fuels.
  • Economic assessment of stranded gas provides estimates of the cost of developing, producing, and transporting to market remote natural gas in known fields.

Emil Attanasi

Philip Freeman



Overview of oil and gas exploration in the united states
Overview of Oil and Gas Exploration
in the United States

Economics of U.S. Oil and Gas Resources

The U.S. Geological Survey prepares geologic assessments of undiscovered and undeveloped (identified) oil and gas resources (see National Oil and Gas Assessment website). In addition to our USGS oil and gas geologic assessments, economic research gives policymakers and analysts in the private sector additional information by scaling economic variables. Economic attributes must include the costs of finding, developing, and producing undiscovered and undeveloped resources for both conventional and unconventional oil and gas occurrences.  This research activity provides for the economic analysis of selected USGS energy resource geologic assessments so that government policymakers and industry decision makers have information on what part of the resource is commercial and, if currently produced, how long production can be sustained. Another thrust of this ongoing research is to propose enhancements in assessment methods that would permit more transparency in the economic analysis of the assessed resource.

Stacked pair of horizontal wells
Stacked pair of horizontal wells,
from Schlumberger Oilfield Review,

Economics of Emerging Global Hydrocarbon Supplies by Marginal Resources

During the last decade many producing countries have reassigned conventional oil and gas development rights to their national oil companies (NOCs). In fact the 13 largest energy companies, when measured by oil and gas reserves, are controlled by sovereign governments. The result is that the NOC’s will control a significant share of future oil and gas production. The international oil companies (IOCs) are relegated to minority project partners, contractors, or to marginally economic hydrocarbon resources. These latter resources may require special extraction technologies because of location, environment, or because they are unconventional. The largest part of the remaining hydrocarbon resource base is associated with unconventional oil and gas resources. These resources include stranded gas, heavy oil, and natural bitumen; resources that historically did not enter established markets because of quality, location, or extraction technology. The resource volumes that make up these massive accumulations must be scaled by economic variables for energy policy analysts and industry decision makers to predict when these resources will enter international oil and gas supplies. Research focuses on development of theoretically sound methods to value these marginal resources and to characterize the commercial and social costs of their development.



USGS Podcast (Episode 155):  USGS Economic Analysis Updated for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA)

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 03, 2014


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