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Bureau of Economic Geology News Archive


CO2 and the History of Weighing Smoke

Officials from countries around the word have met for the last two weeks in Lima, Peru to talk global climate change.   At the heart of those talks is how to limit billions of tons of CO2 that are pumped into the atmosphere every year from coal burning power plants. But how do we keep track…

The deal that the U.S. and China have struck to curb carbon emissions has been hailed as a breakthrough by many concerned with climate change, and panned by politicians opposed to President Obama. But it’s also captured the interest of a group of researchers — some in Texas — who specialize in carbon capture and…

Natural gas: The fracking fallacy

Production of natural gas in the United States is climbing rapidly, and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts long-term growth. But studies by the University of Texas (UT) challenge that forecast. The Texas team made forecasts for the four most productive shale-gas formations, or plays. Those forecasts suggest that gas production will peak soon and quickly drop, a much…

Texas water supplies, currently stressed by drought, could be further affected by the federal listing of five freshwater mussel species under the Endangered Species Act, but most of the potential impacts could be mitigated by innovative water strategies, according to a study by the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin’s…

Striking It Big With Nanotech

Jackson School researchers are unlocking the mighty impacts of tiny technology for energy development and recovery By Joshua Zaffos The difference between boom and bust in the field of energy development is often a matter of inches and guesswork: An abundant reserve can be tapped—or overlooked—depending on the location of a well and properties of…

Ride High and Seek

Texas researchers have gained an eagle-eyed view of the world thanks to a premier digital mapping tool By Joshua Zaffos Halloween was particularly scary in the Texas capital in 2013. An intense storm over south Austin caused Onion Creek to top its banks and flood hundreds of homes. In just 15 minutes, the creek rose…

Producing oil through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses similar amounts of water on average as producing oil by conventional means, according to a new study by The University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology. Bridget Scanlon, a senior research scientist at the bureau and lead researcher on the study, said the findings are…

A new study from the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas at Austin forecasts that one of the nation’s most productive shale gas basins, the Fayetteville Shale, will continue to be a major contributor to U.S. natural gas supplies for years to come, with economically recoverable reserves of 18 trillion cubic…

“Earlier this year, the government shutdown stalled two crucial policy decisions in the United States involving the movement of energy: the Keystone pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals. Rather than allow extreme arguments to dominate, Americans should demand lawmakers move toward the radical middle on both of these vital issues.” Austin American-Statesman, Jan….

While criticized as a water-intensive technique for producing oil and natural gas, hydraulic fracturing  ultimately cuts overall water use  in Texas and makes the state less vulnerable to drought, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin. “The bottom line is that hydraulic fracturing, by boosting natural gas production and moving the…

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