Petroleum Systems Contacts

David Kopaska-Merkel


Petroleum Systems

The oil and gas industry provides major economic benefits to Alabama and its citizens. Over $2.4 billion worth of oil and gas are produced annually in Alabama. The state receives direct benefits of approximately $500 million annually in the form of lease bonuses, royalties, trust-fund investment income, and severance taxes. 

Oil and gas research at the Geological Survey focuses on characterizing the petroleum reservoirs in Alabama. For example, Survey scientists are describing deeply buried reservoirs in southwest Alabama and in Alabama state waters.  Survey scientists are identifying areas that may contain undiscovered oil and gas accumulations. The results of this study will help oil and gas companies find new fields in Alabama.


Photograph of Norphlet sandstone reservoir, offshore Alabama.  Blue areas are open space that could contain oil or gas.  Scale bar equals 0.1 mm (0.004 inches).

Recent investigations have pinpointed techniques that can be used to improve oil recovery, identified basic geologic controls on coalbed methane production, and characterized aging oil reservoirs in the Black Warrior basin and the Gulf Coast.  As a result of this research, increased production has been documented from some of these reservoirs.  Numerous maps and reports on oil and gas are available to the public at the Geological Survey of Alabama and the State Oil and Gas Board. Some reports are available as free downloads from this web site.  For information on oil and gas research, contact David C. Kopaska-Merkel at 205.247.3695 or