Two geologic formations along the US Gulf coastline may contain 304 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, or four times more than previously thought, according to a new government study.
According to two new assessments from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Bossier and Haynesville Formations that stretch across the Gulf Coast, from Florida through East Texas and South Texas, are estimated to hold 304.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. These estimates represent the “largest continuous natural gas assessment” ever conducted by the agency in the United States – a finding so large it prompted Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to tweet, HUGE!
Previous USGS assessments of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources in the Haynesville and Bossier Formations estimated the formations to hold 61.4 Tcf and 9 Tcf of natural gas, respectively. These newest assessments more than triple the previous estimate for the Haynesville, now believed to hold almost 196 Tcf of natural gas; as well as mark an over 1200 percent increase of natural gas resources in the Bossier, now estimated to hold 108.6 Tcf of natural gas.
This news comes just six months after the USGS found that the Permian Basin in West Texas is estimated to hold 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil – the largest estimate of continuous oil ever assessed by the agency. Such staggering increases in undiscovered, technically recoverable resources within U.S. formations can be attributed to the technological advances made in resource development, which the agency says are a “game-changer”. According to Walter Guidroz, Program Coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources Program:
“As the USGS revisits many of the oil and gas basins of the United States, we continually find that technological revolutions of the past few years have truly been a game-changer in the amount of resources that are now technically recoverable.”
“Changes in technology and industry practices, combined with an increased understanding of the regional geologic framework, can have a significant effect on what resources become technically recoverable.”
In addition to a wealth of natural gas, the USGS estimates the Brossier Formation to hold about 2.9 billion barrels of oil and a billion barrels of natural gas liquids; while the Haynesville is estimated to hold 1.1 billion barrels of oil and 0.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.