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Significant Natural Gas Resources Remain to Be Discovered in Cook Inlet, Alaska



Significant Natural Gas Resources Remain to Be Discovered in Cook Inlet, Alaska

The Cook Inlet Region of Alaska contains an estimated mean of 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 600 million barrels of oil, and 46 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, and includes both unconventional and conventional resources.

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of southern Alaska in 1995, in which a mean of 2.14 trillion cubic feet of gas was estimated. This increase in the undiscovered resource is attributed to new geologic information and data.   

“For the first time, USGS has evaluated unconventional (or continuous) as well as conventional petroleum resources in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska,” said Brenda Pierce, USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator. “The USGS conducts assessments to evaluate the Nation’s petroleum potential, especially as new data and information become available in order to understand the resource endowment of the Nation.”

Since oil and gas production began in the Cook Inlet region in 1958, more than 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 7.8 trillion cubic feet of gas have been produced, yet the new USGS assessment shows that significant undiscovered gas remains.

This USGS assessment includes estimates of conventional and unconventional, or continuous, accumulations, including coalbed gas and tight gas formations. Coalbed gas is a form of natural gas extracted from coal deposits, whereas tight gas is natural gas occurring in impermeable, compact rock formations. Both require different development techniques than conventional gas accumulations.

The USGS assessment of undiscovered gas resources ranges from 4.976 to 39.737 trillion cubic feet (95 percent and 5 percent probability, respectively.  Of this total, about 72 percent is estimated to be found in conventional accumulations, 25 percent in coalbed gas accumulations, and 3 percent in tight gas accumulations.  

The USGS assessment of undiscovered oil resources ranges from 108 to 1,359 million barrels of oil (95 to 5 percent probability, respectively).  These resources are all conventional resources; there are no unconventional oil resources assessed in the Cook Inlet region. 

These new estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations. As such, these estimates include resources beneath both onshore and offshore areas of the Cook Inlet region (exclusive of the Federal offshore) and beneath areas where accessibility may be limited by policy and regulations imposed by land managers and regulatory agencies.

USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. The USGS worked with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas to develop a geologic understanding of the Cook Inlet region. The USGS Cook Inlet assessment was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.

To learn more about this or other geologic assessments, please visit the Energy Resources Program website.

USGS Newsroom



More information

Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
Alert Level The alert level from the PAGER earthquake impact scale. Green, Yellow, Orange or Red.
Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
Event Code An identifying code assigned by, and unique from, the corresponding source for the event.
Event IDS A comma-separated list of event ids that are associated to an event.

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