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PGC Reports Record Future Supply Of Natural Gas In The U.S.

Potential Gas Committee

The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) today released the results of its latest biennial assessment of the nation’s natural gas resources, which indicates that the United States possesses a total technically recoverable resource base of 2,817 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of year-end 2016. This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 52-year history, exceeding the previous high assessment (from 2014) by 302 Tcf (increase of 12%).

The increase resulted from reassessments of shale gas resources in the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain areas.

“The latest assessment by PGC confirms that the U.S. has abundant resources of natural gas. These resources are present in various reservoirs both onshore and offshore,” said Dr. Alexei V. Milkov, Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering and Director of the Potential Gas Agency (PGA) at the Colorado School of Mines. PGA provides guidance and technical assistance to the PGC.

The PGC’s year-end 2016 assessment of 2,817 Tcf includes 2,658 Tcf of gas potentially recoverable from “Traditional” reservoirs (conventional, tight sands, carbonates, and shales) and 159 Tcf in coalbed gas reservoirs. Compared to year-end 2014, Traditional resources increased by 302 Tcf (13%), while coalbed gas resources essentially did not change. Accompanying Table 1 summarizes the national resource assessment for year-end 2016 and acknowledges changes from the previous year-end 2014 assessment.

PGC assesses technically recoverable resources and does not consider a specific price or schedule for the discovery and production of gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates the proved gas reserves, which are additional to the resources assessed by PGC. When the PGC’s assessments of technically recoverable resources are combined with EIA’s latest determination of proved reserves (324 Tcf of natural gas as of year-end 2015), the U.S. future supply of natural gas stands at a record 3,141 Tcf, an increase of 288 Tcf (10%) over the previous evaluation.

Dr. Milkov highlighted that, “New exploration, more well drilling and continuous improvements in completion and stimulation technologies lead to better delineation and characterization of U.S. gas resources, especially in shale and tight reservoirs. The record gas resources assessed by the PGC, in addition to robust domestic production levels and booked reserves, paint a picture of strong supply of natural gas in the U.S. for many years to come.”

PGC reports the potential resources at the national level as well as for individual seven geographic areas and 90 geological provinces. Such detailed area-level and province-level results offer great value for purposes of analysis, planning and exploration.

The Atlantic area ranks as the country’s richest resource area with 39% of total U.S. Traditional resources, followed by the Gulf Coast (including the Gulf of Mexico) with 20%, Rocky Mountains with 17%, and the Mid-Continent with 14%. Changes in the total assessment from year-end 2014 to year-end 2016 (see accompanying Table 2) arose primarily from the evaluation of recent drilling, well-test and production data from these four areas.

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