Golden Colorado's Potential Gas Committee (PGC) has released the results of its biennial assessment of U.S. natural gas resources, and added to the national supply estimate. The report marks the most dramatic gain in Appalachian basin shale gas which is up over the previous 2010 assessment by 147%. Advances in technology have allowed for more accurate readings, leading to the inclusion of previously unaccounted gas.
“The PGC’s year-end 2012 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,” said Dr. John B. Curtis, Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and Director of the Potential Gas Agency there, which provides guidance and technical assistance to the Potential Gas Committee.
The Committee’s year-end 2012 assessment of 2,384 Tcf includes 2,226 Tcf of gas potentially recoverable from “Traditional” reservoirs (conventional, tight sands and carbonates, and shales) and 158 Tcf in coalbed reservoirs. Compared to year-end 2010, assessed Traditional resources increased by 486.4 Tcf -- 28% -- while coalbed gas resources declined by a nominal 0.4 Tcf -- 0.2% -- resulting in a net increase in total potential resources of 486.1 Tcf -- 25.6%.
The report reflects a great deal of optimism regarding the future of natural gas in the United States. With so much good news surrounding natural gas, one wonders when the May '13 price might fall. But domestic natural gas is still finding its legs to some degree and will have to zero-in on a range that is comfortable for both upstream producers and end-users. If natural gas as a fertilizer feedstock moves too high or too low, producers will adjust N&P production based on margins.
Dr. Curtis observed, “Our knowledge of the geological endowment of technically recoverable gas continues to improve with each assessment. Furthermore, new and advanced exploration, well drilling, completion and stimulation technologies are allowing us increasingly better delineation of and access to domestic gas resources — especially ‘unconventional’ gas — which, not all that long ago, were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue. Consequently, our present assessment, strengthened by robust domestic production levels, demonstrates an exceptionally strong and optimistic gas supply picture for the nation.”