Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Resources
At a time when we need all the energy we can find,
increasing access to domestic sources of oil and natural
gas would enhance our energy security. We have
enough oil and natural gas resources to fuel 91.7 million
cars for 50 years and heat 66 million households for
more than three centuries.
There could be much more oil and natural gas than
previously known in areas where industry has been
unable to fully explore, and new technologies allow us
to access resources previously thought unreachable.
There are many examples of how the government’s initial
estimates dramatically underestimated the amount of
Alaska’s North Slope oil field has produced more
than 16 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids,
and is still producing. Government agencies forecast
the region would produce no more than 10 billion
- In the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and
Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey now says 7.4
billion barrels of undiscovered oil are available – about
50 times more than the original estimate made in 1995.
- In 1987, the BOEM (then MMS) estimated that there
were 9 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. By
2011, after major advances in seismic technology
and deepwater drilling techniques, the MMS resource
estimate for that area had ballooned to 48 billion barrels.
View larger size graphic:
US Crude Oil And Natural Gas Resources