May 20, 2014
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Communications & Public Outreach
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WSGS Launches New Energy Resources Website
The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has improved its online presence with a new website dedicated to providing information to the public on the state’s energy resources. A click of a mouse takes users to informational pages on Wyoming coal, oil and natural gas, and uranium, with each energy sector featuring web content (including free downloads) ranging from nontechnical to scientific (http://www.wsgs.uwyo.edu/research/energy).
“Providing current information on Wyoming’s energy resources benefits everyone, from the general public and the media, to members of industry and conservation groups,” said Tom Drean, director of the WSGS. “Websites are now commonplace for obtaining energy information to help with development and environmental decisions,” he said.
Wyoming is a leader for energy production and resources in the United States. In 2013, the state was first in the production of coal and uranium, fifth in natural gas production, and eighth in crude oil production. Wyoming also has potential for alternative forms of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal.
“We developed this web portal as a clearinghouse of information,” Drean said. “Our goal was to make our work and key information more accessible to the public, with links to key reports and maps, along with compelling visuals and graphics.”
Some highlights include:
- Interactive Map on Wyoming Coal, a Google Earth map with a mouse-over effect to view information on coal fields, coal types, production operations, and power plants.
- Coal mining diagrams, historical coal fields map, and an article with photos on the history of Wyoming coal mining.
- Wyoming Oil and Gas Development Map, showing the locations throughout the state where oil and natural gas projects are proposed or are in early development.
- Nuclear fuel cycle, a colored diagram with a mouse over effect to view information on industrial processes, which involve the production of electricity from uranium in nuclear power reactors.
- Clickable Wyoming Oil and Gas Basin Map, linking to individual basins with a variety of information, including write-ups on geology, production and future development, type logs, cross sections, geologic maps, and stratigraphic charts.
- Summary reports on the state’s energy resources, an annual series highlighting the energy trends in supply and demand.
“Wyoming’s produces about 10 quadrillion Btus (British thermal units) of critical and needed energy each year,” Drean said. This energy is primarily used to provide the nation with reliable electricity. Wyoming coal, for example, which is sub-bituminous and low in sulfur, is used as steam coal for electrical plants across the nation. Uranium is also primarily used for electricity generation. Oil and natural gas are also used to generate electricity, provide transportations fuels, heat homes and businesses, and for the manufacturing of numerous consumer products.
“Energy resources from Wyoming are needed to economically produce a large number of the products people use daily,” Drean said. Manufacturers rely on fossil fuels to create paints, plastics, fibers, textiles, and packaging, as well as refined liquid fuels. “Locating and responsibly producing these resources, however, requires technology and extensive geologic knowledge,” Drean said.
Wyoming’s geologic setting – along with ideal conditions of heat, pressure, and time – has led to the creation of large reservoirs of oil and natural gas found within the strata of Wyoming’s Laramide basins. Vast reserves of coal underlie the state in the Powder River and other basins. Wyoming also encompasses the largest uranium reserves in the United States.
WSGS geologists work to track and map Wyoming’s energy resources with an emphasis on the geologic past. This work and information allows industry to determine where to locate and extract these resources, and is also used by land managers and many state and federal agencies.
WSGS geologists also document current production and future development of oil and natural gas, coal, and uranium throughout the state. This information is then compiled and along with graphics and other visuals posted on the agency Energy website for the public to access.
"With our new energy portal users can gain general information and also dig deeper and find useful Wyoming energy data, from statistics and information to producing formations and type logs," Drean said.