AGA says gas reserves additions top 2000 output by 26%

US natural gas reserves are up, but infrastructure still must be built to deliver the gas to consumers, the American Gas Association said in a report released Tuesday. Additions to gas reserves exceeded US production by at least 26% in 2000.


By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, May 1 -- US gas reserves are up, but infrastructure still must be built to deliver the gas to consumers, the American Gas Association said in a report released Tuesday.

Additions to gas reserves exceeded US production by at least 26% in 2000, according to AGA's latest annual estimate of the nation's top 30 domestic gas producers.

"This is good news. It indicates that the aggressive drilling response last year is beginning to bear fruit. However, increases in gas reserves must be coupled with increases in the infrastructure to produce, gather, process, and deliver gas in order for gas consumers to realize the potential benefits," said Paul Wilkinson, AGA vice-president for policy analysis.

Natural gas reserves, essentially an inventory of gas supplies ready to be produced, account for about 14% of the total gas resource base, he said.

AGA's analysis said additions to reserves in 2000 increased by at least 24 tcf for all US producers in aggregate, while 19.2 tcf was produced. Therefore, replacement of gas reserves during 2000 is estimated to have been 126% or more of gas production.

AGA noted that the total reserves inventory grows when additions to reserves exceeds production on an annual basis. Thus, replacing 100% of annual reserves implies that new gas and revisions to existing reserves equals natural gas production in any given year.

"If this estimate holds, then gas reserves will have increased from 167.4 tcf to more than 170 tcf -- for the first time since 1987," Wilkinson said.

Since 1990, domestic natural gas production has increased by nearly 12%, growing from 17.2 tcf in 1990 to an estimated 19.2 tcf in 2000.

Thousands of natural gas producers bring natural gas to market, the AGA report said. "More than half of domestic natural gas production in aggregate results from efforts of thousands of small, independent gas producers." The other half (nearly 9.2 tcf in 2000) came from companies that hold large gas reserves, the report found. AGA said the total US gas resource base is 1,258 tcf.

The US produces 84% of the gas it uses. Almost all of the rest comes from Canada, Wilkinson said.

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