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Issue Summaries

 Supply/Resource Base 

Background

Abundant supplies of natural gas are available at competitive prices to help meet the nation's growing energy needs.

Natural gas provides nearly one-fourth of the energy consumed in the United States and is expected to increase in the future. About 85 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States is produced within U.S. borders; much of the rest comes from Canada, which also has a huge natural gas supply base. Domestic natural gas production is expected to account for 80 percent or more of the total annual U.S. natural gas supply through the year 2030.

Gas supplies are frequently described in two different ways: proved reserves, which are the estimated quantities of natural gas that current geologic and engineering data demonstrate to be recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions; and the total natural gas resource base, which is proved reserves plus undiscovered resources. The total U.S. natural gas resource base, including proved reserves, is more than 1,500 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), providing a 75-year supply of natural gas at current production levels, according to the Potential Gas Agency of the Colorado School of Mines.

AGA Viewpoint

While natural gas production in the United States has been growing to meet market demands, many new areas for gas production face key restrictions or stipulations impeding development.

There has been resurgence in technology-based exploration and development, particularly in onshore areas. Reserves and production attributable to sources such as tight sands, shales and coal seam natural gas have increased due to regulatory and technology influences. Advances in gas supply technology, including seismic data acquisition and new drilling techniques, are vital to efficient development of the natural gas resource base. However, without access to new areas for resource exploration and development the producing sector of the U.S. natural gas industry will struggle to sustain current domestic production (about 19 trillion cubic feet annually), much less grow domestic sources of natural gas supply.

Additional Information: From the Ground Up: America’s Natural Gas Supply Challenge, Dec. 2002; Energy Analysis 2006-2, Evaluating U.S. Natural Gas Production, Feb. 2006.

AGA Contact: Chris McGill, (202) 824-7132, cmcgill@aga.org

 
 

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