The purpose of the U.S. Geological Survey‘s (USGS) National Oil and Gas Assessment
is to develop geology-based hypotheses regarding the potential for additions to oil and
gas reserves in priority areas of the United States, focusing on the distribution, quantity,
and availability of oil and natural gas resources. The USGS has recently completed an
assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas potential of the Uinta-Piceance Province of
northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado (USGS Province 5020). The Uinta-
Piceance Province is a priority province for the National Assessment because of its
potential for significant natural gas resources.
The assessment of this province is based on geologic principles and uses the total
petroleum system concept. The geologic elements of a total petroleum system include
hydrocarbon source rocks (source rock maturation, hydrocarbon generation and
migration), reservoir rocks (sequence stratigraphy, petrophysical properties), and
hydrocarbon traps (trap formation and timing). In the Uinta-Piceance Province, the
USGS used this geologic framework to define five total petroleum systems and 20
assessment units within the total petroleum systems, and quantitatively estimated the
undiscovered oil and gas resources within each assessment unit.
Many more details about the project and about individual chapters of this report are readily available in the very readable Chapter 2 of this volume, ‘The Uinta-Piceance Province-Introduction to a geologic assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources.‘ Use Acrobat Reader to access the PDF for this chapter.