Oil and natural gas touch our lives in countless ways every day. Together, they supply more than 60 percent of our nation’s energy. They fuel our cars, heat our homes and cook our food. But did you know that oil and natural gas also help generate the electricity that powers our daily lives? Or that crude oil supplies the building blocks for everything from dent-resistant car fenders to soft drink bottles to camping equipment.
Explore this section to learn more about oil and natural gas, how they are produced and how they become the products you count on. You'll also find useful tips on how to conserve energy and use oil and natural gas products in ways that protect you, your family and our environment.
Wells to Consumer
Explore the journey of oil and natural gas from Exploration and Production to the final products that benefit consumers.
Exploration & Production
Exploration is the process of trying to find accumulations of oil and natural gas trapped under the Earth’s surface. Production is the process of recovering those hidden resources for processing, marketing and use. Access to oil and natural gas resources is critical to supplying the energy needs of American consumers, business and homeowners.
Increasing access to onshore domestic resources will mean more jobs, more revenues to help cash-strapped local, state and federal governments and greater energy security. America needs a balanced energy policy that promotes energy efficiency, conservation and greater supplies of all forms of energy, including domestic oil and natural gas. The industry has proven it can develop these resources safely and in an environmentally responsible manner in all regions, including on non-park federal lands. This section discusses current access to these lands and the growing role that onshore government lands need to play in meeting the nation’s energy needs.
Currently, approximately 25% of U.S. oil and natural gas production comes from offshore areas. Technology has enabled the industry to explore deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico and to make many new discoveries while minimizing impact on the environment. This section discusses the industry’s offshore activities, including the technology we use and the steps we take to protect our workers and the environment.
Getting to oil and natural gas isn’t always easy. That's where hydraulic fracturing plays an important role in America's energy supply.
Natural gas is America's new energy frontier. Technological innovation has opened the door to abundant new energy resources in the U.S.
Advanced technologies developed over many years are used to produce oil from oil sands.
Oil shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock containing a solid material (kerogen) that converts to liquid oil when heated.
In the early 1970s, as petroleum production from the Lower 48 states entered a decline, a new discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska offered the U.S. the promise of a significant new source of competitive domestic supply on a world class scale.
Transporting Oil & Natural Gas
Advances in exploration and production have helped to locate and recover a supply of oil and natural gas from major reserves across the globe. At the same time, demand for petroleum-based products has grown in every corner of the world. But supply and demand are rarely concentrated in the same place. Transportation therefore is vital to ensuring the reliable and affordable flow of petroleum we all count on to fuel our cars, heat our homes and improve the quality of our lives.
Today's cutting-edge tankers are the product of a commitment to safety combined with the power of computer-assisted design. As a result, the new ships traveling the seas are stronger, more maneuverable, and more durable than their predecessors.
The nation's more than 190,000 miles of liquid pipelines and over 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines, which are the primary means of moving petroleum products to consumer markets; Pipelines are safe, efficient and, because most are buried, largely unseen.
Pipeline Strategic Data Tracking System (PSDTS)
The Pipeline Performance Tracking System, PPTS, is a key component of the oil pipeline industry's Environmental and Safety Initiative, a multi-discipline approach to understanding and improving industry performance.
Railroad infrastructure supports the transportation needs of industries as diverse as oil and gas, manufacturing, and agriculture. North America benefits from an integrated railway system that is vital to reaching otherwise underserved markets. Railroads are a safe and efficient means of transporting crude oil and other petroleum products.
Fuels and Refining
Every barrel of crude oil holds remarkable potential: to keep us warm, to keep us on the go and to provide the building blocks for countless products we depend on every day. The job of the refinery is to unleash that potential by sorting and improving the hydrocarbons within the crude. Gasoline, propane, jet fuel, heating oil and petrochemicals are just some of the specially formulated products leaving the refinery.
How a refinery works and guidelines for their operation.
Gasoline, diesel, heating oil, vehicle technology studies.