USGS raises Cook Inlet gas resources estimate

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 30 -- The US Geological Survey significantly increased its estimate of recoverable natural gas resources in and around Alaska’s Cook Inlet to a mean 19 tcf as it released a new evaluation of the region’s oil, gas, and gas resources for the region on June 28.

USGS’s previous mean estimate in 1995 was 2.14 tcf. It attributed the increase in undiscovered, technically recoverable southern Alaska resources to new geologic information and data. The Cook Inlet area also contains about 600 million bbl of oil and 46 million bbl of natural gas liquids, USGS said.

“For the first time, USGS has evaluated unconventional (or continuous) as well as conventional petroleum resources in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska,” said Brenda Pierce, the agency’s energy resources program coordinator. The assessment contains coalbed methane as well as tight gas formations, which require different production methods than conventional gas resources, she noted.

USGS said the assessment of undiscovered Cook Inlet region gas resources ranges from 4.976 tcf to 39.737 tcf (with a 95% and 5% probability, respectively). Of this total, about 72% is estimated to be found in conventional accumulations, 25% in CBM accumulations, and 3% in tight gas accumulations.

The undiscovered oil resource estimate ranges from 108 million bbl to 1,359 million bbl (with a 95% and 5% probability, respectively). The Cook Inlet region’s potential oil resources are all conventional, according to USGS.

More than 1.3 billion bbl of oil and 7.8 tcf of gas have been produced there since oil and gas production began in the region in 1958, it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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