US natural gas resource level repeats record

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 28
-- The US has an undiscovered natural gas resource potential of 1,898 tcf—the highest level in the 46-year history of the Potential Gas Committee, PGC said.

The 2010 biennial assessment is 61 tcf higher than the previous record yearend 2008 figure.

US gas reserves and estimates of undiscovered resources continue to grow due to the emergence and advancement of key technologies that are able to unlock gas production from sources such as shale formations, said PGC and the American Gas Association.

When the PGC’s results are combined with the US Department of Energy’s latest available determination of dry gas proved reserves, which were 273 tcf at the end of 2009, the US has a total available future supply of 2,170 tcf, or 89 tcf more than the previous evaluation.

The PGC’s end-2010 assessment of 1,898 tcf includes 1,739 tcf of gas attributable to “traditional” reservoirs (conventional, tight sands and carbonates, and shales) and 159 tcf in coalbed reservoirs.

John B. Curtis, professor at the Colorado School of Mines and director of the Potential Gas Agency, said, “The PGC’s yearend 2010 assessment reaffirms the committee’s conviction that abundant, recoverable natural gas resources exist within our borders, both onshore and offshore, and in all types of reservoirs—from conventional, tight and shales, to coals.”

The 1,739 tcf traditional resource is distributed as 537 tcf of probable gas in existing fields, 688 tcf of possible gas in new fields, and 518 tcf of speculative gas in frontier areas. The 159 tcf coalbed resource is distributed as 13 tcf of probable gas in existing fields, 48 tcf of possible gas in new fields, and 96 tcf of speculative gas in frontier areas.

The 1,898 tcf assessment included 687 tcf of shale gas, up from 616 tcf of shale gas at the end of 2008, PGC said.

Geographically, the PGC tallied 506 tcf of traditional gas in and off the Gulf Coast, 354 tcf in Atlantic states, 344 tcf in the Rocky Mountains, 272 tcf in the Midcontinent, 54 tcf in Pacific states, and 22 tcf in North Central states. It divided the coalbed gas 52 tcf in the Rockies, 17 tcf in Atlantic, 12 tcf in North Central, 8 tcf in Midcontinent, and 3 tcf each in Gulf Coast and Pacific.

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