WASHINGTON, DC, May 3 -- US gas producers are recovering from damage caused by last year's hurricanes but still struggle to meet US demand, the Natural Gas Supply Association reports.
Citing a review the association commissioned by Energy and Environmental Inc., NGSA Pres. Chris Conway said the number of US producing gas wells increased to a record of more than 27,000 in 2005.
"Rig counts are also up for onshore areas," said Conway, president of ConocoPhillips's gas and power division. "However, several more years of market tightness appear likely as long as the most economical supply options continue to be kept out of our reach."
Damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted an estimated 705 bcf of production from the Outer Continental Shelf and 89 bcf from onshore wells through the heating season, he told reporters at an early-May Washington briefing.
"Increasing investment, however, has meant consistently strong production elsewhere, including an expansion of unconventional natural gas resources such as shale gas, which appears to be a potentially giant resource," Conway said.
Total US gas production investments increased by $11.7 billion, or 14%, in 2005 and are expected to grow by $11 billion during 2006, he indicated.
"If not for the hurricane disruption, 2005 production in the Lower 48 states would have been flat to slightly increasing," he said, noting investments in LNG projects and progress in the proposed gas pipeline from Alaska.
"Until the government provides expanded access to additional domestic production on nonpark federal land and on more of the Outer Continental Shelf, the US, although the second largest producer of natural gas in the world, will continue to be increasingly vulnerable to supply and price disruptions from future hurricanes," he said.