US natural gas reserves reached record levels in 2011 as producers found and produced more gas than was consumed, the American Gas Association said. Quantities estimated to exist as a result of drilling and completing wells reached 300 tcf, AGA said in its preliminary findings.
“This ‘on-the-shelf’ inventory is the foundation, along with growing national resource estimates, that may point to as much as a 100-year gas supply in America,” AGA Pres. Dave McCurdy said on Apr. 4. “This abundance is helping to reduce prices and increase stability for our customers and also ensuring that that natural gas is America’s domestic, clean foundation fuel for now and into the future.”
The combination of reserves information and resource assessments places that future supply at 2,100 tcf or greater, according to AGA. This represents about 100 years’ of supply at current gas production rates of 22-23 tcf/year, it said.
AGA said the previous US reserves record of 293 tcf was reached in 1967. During 2010 and 2011, it added, an estimated more than 100% of total US annual production was replaced with new reserve additions and revisions of previous estimates. New discoveries tied to investment in onshore drilling opportunities in the Lower 48, specifically shale gas, have been a significant factor in recent reserves growth, it said.
The association, which represents local distribution companies, said that its estimates use figures for the 30 largest US gas reserves holders for its preliminary estimates. The US Energy Information Administration has not published 2011 oil, gas, and natural gas liquids figures, AGA said.
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