The roles of the U.S. Geological Survey relative to petroleum exploration and production commonly are ill understood by private industry. The Conservation Division of the Geological Survey is concerned primarily with regulation and supervision relative to oil and gas on public and Indian lands, whereas the Branch of Oil and Gas Resources of the Geologic Division conducts research that (1) contributes to improved exploration procedures, and (2) helps appraise the petroleum potential of frontier areas so as to advise the Executive Branch of Government. Successful cooperation between private industry and the Oil and Gas Branch clearly will further both aspects of this research.

Current research projects in the Rocky Mountain region fall into categories of “topical research” and “geographic research.” Of particular regional interest are projects relating to indirect detection of hydrocarbons, generation and migration of hydrocarbons, porosity trends in sandstone reservoirs, Paleozoic source rocks, and Cretaceous structural and stratigraphic traps, among others.

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