The Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources dataset shows the locations of the Assessment Units (AUs) in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources. The assessment was conducted in 2012 and evaluated 313 AUs within 171 geologic provinces (areas where oil and gas occur in commercial quantities). An AU is a mappable volume of rock with homogenous geologic properties. Each AU was assessed for undiscovered oil and gas resources using data from published literature. In each geologic province, total petroleum systems (TPS) were also defined. A TPS is the group of geologic elements needed for oil and gas formation.
The Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources dataset provides an understanding of the quantity, quality and distribution of global conventional oil and gas resources. Conventional oil and gas resources, such as crude oil and natural gas, are found in high porosity/permeability reservoirs. Unconventional oil and gas resources are found in low porosity/permeability reservoirs, such as shale and tar sands. Conventional resources are relatively easy to extract from the earth and do not require fracking. The USGS World Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources determined that a total of 565,298 million barrels of oil, 5,605,626 billion cubic feet of gas and 166,668 million barrels of natural gas liquids remained undiscovered as of 2011. All of these resources are conventionally extractable. However, conventional oil and gas resources are dwindling. Knowing where and how much conventional oil and gas remains undiscovered is important for understanding the world’s energy future. The Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources dataset is a geologic basis for making decisions about energy. It can help predict future energy production trends and increase understanding of the social and environmental consequences of oil and gas resource exploitation.