This week the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) produced an assessment which could possibly lead to the future production of oil and natural gas in the Puerto Rico–U.S. Virgin Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated means of 19 million barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and 244 billion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas in the Puerto Rico–U.S. Virgin Islands Exclusive Economic Zone,” the USGS said.

The USGS report said it . . .

. . . . assessed the potential for undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico–U.S. Virgin Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.  The assessment was based on the postulated presence and viability of petroleum-system elements including petroleum source rocks (quality, source-rock maturation, generation, and migration), reservoir rocks (depositional environments, sequence stratigraphy, and petrophysical properties), traps (type and formation), and timing considerations. Using this geologic framework, the USGS defined three hypothetical petroleum systems and five assessment units (AUs). This study assessed the potential for technically recoverable resources in new field discoveries; economic resources were not evaluated.

Five possible hydrocarbon zones in the region were evaluated, but no others showed “petroleum potential and were not considered further. In addition, there is no potential for oil and gas resources within the onshore area of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean.

It is only 100 miles long by 35 miles wide.

Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship.

News of the USGS report made the front page of Friday’s El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, under the headline: “Possible extraction of Puerto Rican petroleum and natural gas.”

Reaction to the story has gone viral on the newspaper’s Facebook page, Al Jazeera America said, with thousands of likes and hundreds of shares.

“Several Puerto Ricans are also commenting about what this would mean to the island, currently a U.S. territory whose residents are American citizens,” the report said.

One post on Facebook said the USGS study would lead to Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state of the Union: “Now they will make Puerto Rico a state of the Union!”


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