The purpose of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Oil and Gas Assessment is to develop geology-based hypotheses regarding the potential for additions to oil and gas reserves in priority areas of the United States, focusing on the distribution, quantity, and availability of oil and natural gas resources. The USGS has completed an assessment of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in western Oregon and Washington (USGS Western Oregon and Washington Province 5004). The province includes all of Oregon and Washington north of the Klamath Mountains and west of the crest of the Cascade Range, and extends offshore to the 3-mi limit of State waters on the west and to the International Boundary in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Canada on the north. It measures about 450 mi north–south and 50 to 160 mi east–west, encompassing more than 51,000 mi2.
The assessment of the Western Oregon and Washington Province is geology based and used the total petroleum system (TPS) concept. The geologic elements of a TPS include hydrocarbon source rocks (source rock maturation and hydrocarbon generation and migration), reservoir rocks (quality and distribution), and traps for hydrocarbon accumulation. Using these geologic criteria, two conventional and one unconventional (continuous) total petroleum systems were defined, with one assessment unit (AU) in each TPS: (1) the Cretaceous-Tertiary Composite TPS and the Western Oregon and Washington Conventional Gas AU, (2) the Tertiary Marine TPS and the Tertiary-Marine Gas AU, and (3) the Tertiary Coalbed Gas TPS and the Eocene Coalbed Gas AU, in which a cell-based methodology was used to estimate coalbed-gas resources.