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United States Current Events


Phillips Acquires a License to Export US Crude
April 15, 2014 | Reuters

Amid the debate about exporting United States crude oil, Phillips has obtained a license to export crude from the United States into Canada.

Future of the Haynesville Shale?
April 13, 2014 | TheAdvertiser.com

Natural gas drilling activity in the Haynesville Shale was booming in 2010 but has fallen significantly since then. The fall occurred as natural gas prices fell from $12 down to $2. Companies started drilling there with a high income assumption. After the price fall, drillers could make more money drilling liquid and oil-rich plays because the revenue there was greater. They Haynesville still holds lots of gas and drilling will increase when prices increase.

Qatar LNG Profits in Jeopardy?
April 8, 2014 | Bloomberg

Although Qatar is currently the largest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world, its natural gas profits could be slashed as Australia, the United States, east African nations, Indonesia and several other countries enter or step into the LNG export business.

If Qatar’s profits are threatened, what is going to happen to United States companies who plan to export natural gas and have a transportation disadvantage?

Related: What is LNG?

Wall Maps of US States
April 8, 2014 | Geology.com Store

Raven Maps are beautiful examples of shaded-relief wall maps that display the elevation of a state in vibrant colors. These large maps look great in a classroom, den or office. Use one to mark the locations of your work or company.

The Benefits of Crude Oil Exports?
April 6, 2014 | Oil and Gas Journal

An article in the Oil and Gas Journal, based upon a study done for the American Petroleum Institute, counts the potential benefits of crude oil exports.

The Fight Over LNG Exports?
March 23, 2014 | Bloomberg

Some environmentalists and some politicians do not favor quick approvals of export terminals on the U.S. eastern coast with the intent of supplying natural gas to Russia’s current customers.

2012 Crude Trade Within the Americas
February 9, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration recently published their annual Liquid Fuels and Natural Gas in the Americas report. It includes the map below showing the flow of crude oil within the Americas during 2012.

Why Was It So Cold Last Week?
January 12, 2014 | Climate.gov

An article on Climate.gov explains why a large mass of dense, extremely cold air flowed over much of the United States last week.

From the article… “Meteorologists have known for years that the pattern of the polar vortex determines how much cold air escapes from the Arctic and makes its way to the U.S. during the winter.”

US Oil Production at a 25 Year High
December 22, 2013 | BusinessWeek.com

The United States was producing over 8 million barrels of oil per day in early December. That is the highest level of US oil output in 25 years.

Australia and the United States Are Producing Rare Earths Again
December 17, 2013 | Geology.com

After China restricts their exports of rare earth elements, the United States and Australia are back in production.

Bill Magee the Gem Miner
November 24, 2013 | YouTube.com

An interesting video about Bill Magee, a gem miner who lived and found lots of gems in southern California. (His big find – about 1 1/2 tons of morganite crystals – is at about 22:30.)

Shale Production Outside of the USA
November 21, 2013 | Bloomberg

Bloomberg has an article that summarizes some of the efforts to produce oil and natural gas from shale outside of the United States. Some of these countries lack the equipment and expertise to develop the wells and are forming agreements with experienced companies.

The Largest Energy Importers
November 18, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Japan ranked as the second largest net importer of fossil fuels in the world in 2012, trailing only China. This follows the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, after which Japan suspended operations at all of its nuclear power plants.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration.

USA Fuel Mix is Changing
November 17, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“The mix of fuels used to generate the electricity in homes, factories, and businesses across the United States has changed in the past few years as coal, still the largest single fuel used for electricity, has lost some of its share of the generation market to natural gas and non-hydroelectric renewables.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration.

Is Shale Oil a Flash in the Pan?
November 17, 2013 | New York Times

A New York Times article reports that projections in the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook see oil from shale declining by the mid-2020s and traditional oil suppliers in the Middle East returning to importance.

India Headed to Mars
November 4, 2013 | Calgary Herald

If all goes according to plans, India will launch a spacecraft to Mars on Tuesday, November 5th. So far there have been 40 attempts to reach Mars by the United States, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency, Japan and China. Only 23 missions have been successful.

Natural Gas Flaring from Space
October 30, 2013 | Geology.com

We have posted views of Earth from NASA’s Suomi satellite that show night illumination and natural gas flaring for oil industry sites in the Bakken Formation, Eagle Ford Shale, Alaska North Slope, United States Gulf, Mexican Gulf, Venezuela Orinoco Field, Brazil offshore basins, North Sea, North Africa onshore, west Africa offshore, and Persian Gulf.

World Shale Gas Leaders
October 29, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“The United States and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world, even though about a dozen other countries have conducted exploratory test wells.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration article.

Powder River Basin Coal Assessment
October 25, 2013 | United States Geological Survey

“Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated in-place resources of 1.07 trillion short tons of coal in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming and Montana. Of that total, with a maximum stripping ratio of 10:1, recoverable coal was 162 billion tons. The estimate of economically recoverable resources was 25 billion tons.” Quoted from the USGS fact sheet.

Helium Stewardship Act
October 19, 2013 | Geological Society of America

Congress approved legislation that will continue the sale of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve.

Related: Who Needs Helium?

The Government Shutdown and Geology
October 15, 2013 | American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union has a short article that explains why the “Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs“.

LNG Projects Map
October 15, 2013 | American Petroleum Institute

The American Petroleum Institute has produced an interactive map of the United States and Canada that shows the locations of LNG Export facilities that are approved or pending. There is currently a rush to permit and bring these facilities online because natural gas in the United States is much cheaper than in most other parts of the world.

Related: What is LNG?

Understanding Deep Earthquakes
October 10, 2013 | Argonne National Laboratory

“Scientists broke new ground in the study of deep earthquakes, a poorly understood phenomenon that occurs where the oceanic lithosphere, driven by tectonics, plunges under continental plates – examples are off the coasts of the western United States, Russia and Japan.” Quoted from the Argonne National Laboratory press release.

Drought in the United States
September 26, 2013 | USGS

Drought is one of the most costly natural disasters. USGS has a two part article that considers the current drought problems in the United States.

How Much Shale Gas Does China Really Have?
September 23, 2013 | The Australian

The Energy Information Administration published information indicating that China probably has more shale gas than the United States. Now, Australians drilling in China are starting to doubt that.

Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential of the USA
September 18, 2013 | USGS

“The United States has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide in geologic basins throughout the country, according to the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Impact of Shale Plays on the US Economy
September 11, 2013 | BizJournals.com

A BizJournals interview with Rayola Dougher, senior economic advisor at the American Petroleum Institute, explores the impact of United States shale plays on the US economy, the transportation industry, the price of oil and more.

Related: What is Shale Gas?

US Oil Production Highest Since the 1980s
September 6, 2013 | FuelFix

Hydraulic fracturing in new shale plays has pushed United States oil production to its highest levels since the 1980s.

If natural gas liquids, lease condensate and other liquids are added, current numbers are even more impressive when compared to the past. (See chart below)

Related: Oil Production from the Eagle Ford Shale

Niagara Falls Without Water
September 5, 2013 | NBC News

NBC News has a collection of photo of Niagara Falls from 1969 when the flow of water to the American Falls was diverted over the Horseshoe Falls or to the Robert Moses power plant.

Regional Concentrations of Scientists and Engineers
August 27, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“According to a recently published report by the National Science Foundation, science and engineering employment in the United States is geographically concentrated in a small number of states. Further, several major metropolitan areas within these states account for the highest S&E employment.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

Rate of Temperature Change in the USA
August 26, 2013 | USA.gov Blog

Average temperatures in the U.S. are changing. Since 1901, the average surface temperature across the contiguous 48 states has risen at an average rate of 0.14°F per decade.


Image by NOAA

A Spanish Fort in the Appalachians in 1567?
August 9, 2013 | University of Michigan

“The remains of the earliest European fort in the interior of what is now the United States have been discovered by a team of archaeologists, providing new insight into the start of the U.S. colonial era and the all-too-human reasons spoiling Spanish dreams of gold and glory.” Quoted from the University of Michigan press release.

Don’t Swim in Quarries
July 18, 2013 | Metro.co.uk

Hot weather often lures people into taking a swim in an abandon quarry. That’s not a safe thing to do. In the past few weeks, four people have drowned in quarries in the UK.

In the United States, swimming and other accidents claim 20 to 30 lives in quarries each year.

A National Park on the Moon?
July 15, 2013 | Accuweather

A new bill introduced into the U.S. Congress would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon.

Rail Transport of Crude is up 48% over 2012
July 12, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“With U.S. crude oil production at the highest level in two decades, outstripping pipeline capacity, the United States is relying more on railroads to move its new crude oil to refineries and storage centers. The amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products transported by rail totaled close to 356,000 carloads during the first half of 2013, up 48% from the same period in 2012.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration.

Energy Use Rising in the USA
June 27, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“U.S. primary energy consumption totaled 8.4 quadrillion Btu, an 8-percent increase from March 2012. Petroleum made up 35 percent of primary energy consumption, natural gas 31 percent, coal 18 percent, renewable energy 9 percent, and nuclear electric power 8 percent.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration

Yosemite Rockfall Data
June 25, 2013 | USGS

The United States Geological Survey and the National Park Service have produced a publication: “Historical Rock Falls in Yosemite National Park, California (1857–2011)“. It contains information about rockfall events, types of slope movements, triggering conditions and much more in maps, tables and text.

Fluorite
June 25, 2013 | Geology.com

Fluorite is an important industrial mineral used in a variety of chemical, ceramic and metallurgical processes. Although the United States has some fluorite deposits, most of the mineral consumed here is imported from China, Mexico, Mongolia and South Africa.

Slow Earthquakes on the San Andreas
June 17, 2013 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

An article on the Woods Hole Oceanographic website explains how parts of the San Andreas fault creep slowly instead of producing sudden earthquakes.

PRI Teaching Geology Guide
May 30, 2013 | Paleontological Research Institution

“The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) [...] offers many education materials and opportunities for science teachers and students at all grade levels. Their online “Teacher Friendly Guide” gives brief geologic histories of every region of the United States. Also available online are photos and descriptions of the museum’s fossil collections.” Quoted from the Earth Science Week Newsletter.

Ground Water Depletion in the USA
May 23, 2013 | USGS

The United States Geological Survey has published a study on the depletion rates of ground water in the United States between 1900 and 2008. The rate of depletion is accelerating.

Natural Gas Imports from Eastern Canada
April 28, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

The amount of natural gas being imported from eastern Canada into the United States has dropped to about 1/2 of the average of the previous five years.

Foreign Investments in US Shale
April 18, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

Since 2008, foreign companies have entered into 21 joint ventures with U.S. acreage holders and operators, investing more than $26 billion in tight oil and shale gas plays.

Plummeting Gas Share from the Gulf of Mexico
April 8, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration reports on the falling natural gas production rates from the Gulf of Mexico and the plummeting share of United States natural gas being produced in the Gulf.

Slow Expansion of Tight Oil Beyond the USA
March 13, 2013 | FuelFix

A VP of Statoil says that tight oil will not expand as rapidly in many parts of the world as it has in the United States because they don’t have entrepreneurial companies and private land ownership.

Impact of Climate Change on U.S. Coasts
February 18, 2013 | USGS

“According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems. The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, authored by leading scientists and experts, emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

National Climate Assessment
January 25, 2013 | U.S. Global Change Research Program

“Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.” Quoted from the Executive Summary of the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report

Rising USA Crude Production
January 10, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“EIA estimates U.S. total crude oil production averaged 6.4 million barrels per day in 2012, an increase of 0.8 million bbl/d from the previous year. Projected domestic crude oil production continues to increase to 7.3 million bbl/d in 2013 and 7.9 million bbl/d in 2014, which would mark the highest annual average level of production since 1988.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration U.S. Crude Oil and Liquid Fuels report.

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Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.


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