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Article Thumbnail Image Stranded gas resources are defined for this study as gas resources in discrete accumulations that are not currently commercially producible, or producible at full potential, for either physical or economic reasons. Approximately 35 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of stranded gas was identified on...
Friday, July 19, 2013  Type: Outside Publication

Article Thumbnail Image 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 f...
Wednesday, May 15, 2013  Type: Publication

Article Thumbnail Image 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 i...
Tuesday, April 23, 2013  Type: Publication

Article Thumbnail Image Stranded gas is natural gas in discovered fields that is currently not commercially producible for either physical or economic reasons. 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...
Friday, April 06, 2012  Type: Outside Publication

Article Thumbnail Image There are two main sources of uncertainty in geostatistical modeling: (a) uncertainty about an attribute and (b) uncertainty about the semivariogram that may be required in the attribute modeling—kriging, simulation. All attribute modeling formulations assume that the semivariogram is perfectly know...
Tuesday, March 06, 2012  Type: Outside Publication

Article Thumbnail Image The primary objectives of this research were to (1) investigate empirical methods for establishing regional trends in unconventional gas resources as exhibited by historical production data and (2) determine whether or not incorporating additional knowledge of a regional trend in a suite of previous...
Tuesday, January 03, 2012  Type: Outside Publication

Article Thumbnail Image Two important trends affecting the expected growth of global gas markets are (1) the shift by many industrialized countries from coal-fired electricity generation to the use of natural gas to generate electricity and (2) the industrialization of the heavily populated Asian countries of India and...
Tuesday, January 03, 2012  Type: Outside Publication

Article Thumbnail Image 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.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011  Type: Press Release

Article Thumbnail Image Natural bitumen and extra-heavy oil are characterised by high viscosity, high density (low API gravity), and high concentrations of nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur, and heavy metals. These characteristics result in higher costs for extraction, transportation, and refining than are incurred with convention...
Monday, November 01, 2010  Type: Publication

Article Thumbnail Image The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has published assessments by geologists of undiscovered conventional oil and gas accumulations in the North Slope of Alaska; these assessments contain a set of scientifically based estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable quantities of oil and gas in...
Saturday, August 01, 2009  Type: Publication
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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: Friday, May 24, 2013


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