US Gas Reserves Up 3%
The Potential Gas Committee (PGC), an organization of industry experts, has announced that the amount of producible natural gas in the United States has increased by 3% since their last report in 2009.
You can download the report here.
You can download the slides for the report here.
The increase of 61 trillion cubic feet (tcf) is one of the largest increases reported by the PGC in its 46-year history. The report indicates the U.S. total gas resource base is now 1,898 tcf, the highest number ever.
The 3% increase is smaller, however, than the 36% increase the committee reported in 2009. This huge jump was due primarily to the then emerging exploration and development of some key shale gas formations, such as the Marcellus in the Northeast and the Haynesville in the South. The 2009 report established for the first time the credible resource strength behind the U.S. shale gas boom.
The majority of the 3% increase reported this year acame from shale gas. In particular, shale formations along the Gulf Coast, such as Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale, showed positive growth in reserve and production estimates.
John Curtis, professor of geology at the Colorado School of Mines, noted in his press statements that most of the growth came from shale gas since that’s where the production is occurring. Curtis is the director of the Potential Gas Agency at the Colorado School of Mines. The school provides guidance and technical assistance to the Potential Gas Committee.
A major reason for the increases is advances in the technology that companies use, such as improved seismic testing that allows geologists to get a better understanding of underground formations.
The figures represent what the committee considers to be “technically recoverable” using existing technology, but it does not judge whether it would be profitable for a company to produce the gas at today’s prices, or any price.
The jump has taken place even though the nation has consumed about 40 tcf of gas since the committee’s last assessment.
Curtis noted that they expect the trend in reserve growth to continue since there is still a lot of gas out there to be recovered . Other countries, including a number of them in Europe, could also experience a shale gas boom as the geology is similar and there is no reason the technology cannot be employed elsewhere.
Curtis also pointed out that there are some places where geologists know gas is likely to exist, but where they don’t have good data because companies have not done as much exploration. One such location is the Utica Shale, which lies under the Marcellus Shale. Curtis estimates that the Utica is about where the Marcellus was in development a decade before.
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