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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...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources

Alaska North Slope and Kandik Basin, Alaska

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2012–1024–I
Chapter I - This report presents fourteen storage assessment units (SAUs) from the Alaska North Slope and two SAUs from the Kandik Basin of Alaska. The Alaska North Slope is a broad, north-dipping coastal plain that is underlain by a thick succession of sedimentary rocks that accumulated steadily throughout much of the Phanerozoic during three major tectonic sequences: the Mississippian through Triassic Ellesmerian sequence, the Jurassic through Lower Cretaceous Beaufortian sequence, and the Cretaceous and Tertiary Brookian sequence.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coalbed Natural Gas Exploration, Drilling Activities, and Geologic Test Results

2007–2010, in Wainwright, Alaska

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2014–1004
The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the North Slope Borough, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation conducted a four-year study designed to identify, define, and delineate a shallow coalbed natural gas (CBNG) resource with the potential to provide locally produced, affordable power to the community of Wainwright, Alaska.

Monday, February 03, 2014

National Assessment of Oil and Gas Project: Geologic Assessment of Undiscovered Gas Hydrate Resources on the North Slope, Alaska

USGS Alaska Gas Hydrate Assessment Team

USGS Publication: Digital Data Series DDS–69–CC
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have completed the first assessment of the undiscovered, technically recoverable gas hydrate resources beneath the North Slope of Alaska. This assessment indicates the existence of technically recoverable gas hydrate resources—that is, resources that can be discovered, developed, and produced using current technology.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Potential Geothermal Resources for Akutan, Alaska

Press Release & Publication 
Akutan Volcano hosts a geothermal system that includes a fumarole field at about 400 meters (1312 feet) elevation on the northeast flank of the volcano and a series of hot springs that discharge close to sea level on the northeast side of the island. Numerous industry-led geophysical studies and test drilling in the past few years have proven the existence of a geothermal resource. USGS field studies completed in 2012 suggest that the available geothermal resource may be even larger than previously recognized.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Rock-Eval pyrolysis and vitrinite reflectance results from the Sheep Creek 1 well

Susitna basin, south-central Alaska

USGS Publication: Open-File Report 2013–1307
We used Rock-Eval pyrolysis and vitrinite reflectance to examine the petroleum source potential of rock samples from the Sheep Creek 1 well in the Susitna basin of south-central Alaska. The results show that Miocene nonmarine coal, carbonaceous shale, and mudstone are potential sources of hydrocarbons and are thermally immature with respect to the oil window.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2011 (Part B)

Lithofacies, age, depositional setting, and geochemistry of the Otuk Formation in the Red Dog District, northwestern Alaska

USGS Publication: Professional Paper 1795–B
Complete penetration of the Otuk Formation in a continuous drill core (diamond-drill hole, DDH 927) from the Red Dog District illuminates the facies, age, depositional environment, source rock potential, and isotope stratigraphy of this unit in northwestern Alaska. The section, in the Wolverine Creek plate of the Endicott Mountains Allochthon (EMA), is ~82 meters (m) thick and appears structurally uncomplicated. Note: This is part of the collection of papers that follow continues the series of USGS investigative reports in Alaska under the broad umbrella of the geologic sciences.

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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Brookian Sequence Well Log Correlation Sections and Occurrence of Gas Hydrates, North-Central North Slope, Alaska

USGS Publication: Scientific Investigations Report
Gas hydrate research has a long history in northern Alaska. This research includes the drilling, coring, and well log evaluation of two gas hydrate stratigraphic test wells and two resource assessments of gas hydrates on the Alaska North Slope. Building upon these previous investigations, this report provides a summary of the pertinent well log, gas hydrate, and stratigraphic data for key wells related to gas hydrate occurrence in the north-central North Slope.



There are several energy-related efforts currently under way in Alaska. Geographically, these range from the Alaska Peninsula to the North Slope. Several are collaborative efforts with Federal and State agencies and Alaska Native villages. These projects:

  • Circum-Arctic Basins Oil & Gas Assessment An ongoing effort of the World Energy Project
  • Geologic Framework and Assessment Studies, North Slope of Alaska including the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA) and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) 1002 Area
  • Gas Hydrate Studies in northern Alaska
  • Coalbed Gas Studies
  • Digital Geologic Map Compilation
  • Interior Alaska Province Review and Yukon Flats Assessment
  • South Alaska Province Review
photo: Southward view across Brooks Range foothills.
Southward view across Brooks Range
foothills. Nanushuk Formation in
foreground. (Larger Image).

Alaska Energy Issues

Alaska’s scenic wilderness, its Arctic ecosystems with their unique flora and fauna, and its significant potential for energy and mineral resources are unmatched by any other onshore region of the U.S. Thus, the accurate and unbiased scientific data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey are crucial to the Federal, State, and Native organizations that manage Alaska’s resources to meet the challenge of balancing America’s needs for nonrenewable resources and a clean and healthy environment.


David Houseknecht
Project Chief


National Petroleum Reserve
in Alaska (NPRA)

Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA)

Current work focused on assessment of the area west of NPRA and aggregation of all North Slope assessments with an update of the economics, including natural gas.

The 2010 assessment supersede those of a previous assessment completed by the USGS in 2002.

[+] Go to Research Page

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) 1002 Area
ANWR, 1002 Area

Assessment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) 1002 Area

The “1002 area” is a 1.5-million-acre part of the coastal plain that holds potentially large oil and gas resources, and is an important wildlife habitat. In recognition of these facts, a decision regarding whether this area should be opened to petroleum exploration has been deferred since the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife...

[+] Go to Research Page

Central North Slope of Alaska

Oil and Gas Assessment of Central North Slope, Alaska

In 2005 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the central Alaska North Slope and the adjacent offshore belonging to the State of Alaska. This area lies between the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and extends from  the Brooks Range northward to the State-Federal... [+]

boundary Oil and Gas Assessment of Central North Slope, Alaska, 2005
USGS Fact Sheet 2005-3043

U.S. Geological Survey 2005 Oil and Gas Resource Assessment of the Central North Slope, Alaska: Play Maps and Results. By Christopher P. Garrity, David W. Houseknecht, Kenneth J. Bird, Christopher J. Potter, Thomas E. Moore, Philip H. Nelson, and Christopher J. Schenk. USGS Open-File Report 2005-1182

Economics of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Central North Slope, Alaska. By Emil D. Attanasi, Kenneth J. Bird, and Philip A. Freeman. USGS National Assessment of Oil and Gas Fact Sheet 2005-3120

Economics of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Central North Slope, Alaska. By Emil D Attanasi and Philip A. Freeman. USGS Open-File Report 2005-1276 

Gas Hydrates
Gas Hydrates in Northern Alaska

Gas Hydrate Studies in Northern Alaska

In 2008 USGS completed the first assessment of the undiscovered technically recoverable gashydrate resources on the North Slope of Alaska. Using a geologybased assessment methodology, the USGS estimates that there are about 85 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources within gas hydrates in northern Alaska.

[+] Go to Press Release

Digital Geologic Map Compilation
Digital Geologic Map Compilation

Digital Geologic Map Compilation

Compilation of existing geologic maps of the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, from the Chukchi Sea eastward to the Canadian border. This work is a collaboration between the USGS and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) and the Division of Oil and Gas.

[+] Go to Research Page

NPRA Seismic Data Archive
NPRA Seismic Data Archive

NPRA Seismic Data Archive

The National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska, (NPRA) Legacy Data Archive represents one of the largest geological and geophysical data sets held by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). From 1944 to 1953 the U.S. Navy operated a large-scale exploration of the then Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, drilling 36 test wells and 45 core tests. A second extensive exploration program was operated between 1974 and 1982...

[+] Go to Research Page


Circum-Arctic Assessment Map

National Oil and Gas Assessment
The Energy Resources Program provides periodic assessments of the oil and natural gas endowment of the United States.

Circum-Arctic Basins Oil & Gas Assessment is an ongoing effort of the World Energy Project that includes northern Alaska.




Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 03, 2014


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