U.S. Natural Gas Reserves At Record Levels
Washington, D.C. – America’s abundance of natural gas is supported once more, as a likely contributor to continued price stability, according to a new report released by the American Gas Association (AGA). AGA released its Preliminary Findings Concerning 2011 Natural Gas Reserves which estimates that U.S. natural gas producers found and replaced more gas than was consumed in 2011, thus reserves have continued to grow.
“We estimate that the national inventory of gas reserves is approximately 300 trillion cubic feet,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “This ‘on-the-shelf’ inventory is the foundation along with growing national resource estimates that may point to as much as a100 year natural gas supply in America. This abundance is helping to reduce prices and increase stability for our customers and also ensuring that that natural gas is America’s domestic, clean foundation fuel for now and into the future.”
Natural gas reserves, as measured in the AGA report, are those quantities of natural gas estimated to exist as the result of drilling and completion of existing wells. Natural gas resources, assessed by groups such as the Potential Gas Committee, represent a broader definition of all natural gas in-place that may be considered as future supply, including gas yet to be discovered. When periodic assessments of undiscovered resources are combined with proved reserves a vision of future supply of natural gas emerges. Today, the combination of reserves information and resource assessments places that future supply at 2,100 Tcf or greater. That represents about 100 years of supply at current gas production rates, which are 22-23 Tcf per year.
The previous domestic reserves record of 293 Tcf was recorded in1967. During 2010 and now again for 2011, the American Gas Association estimates that more than 100 percent of total domestic annual production was replaced with new natural gas reserve additions and revisions of previous estimates. AGA estimates that proved U.S. reserves may be as high as 300 Tcf, today, a new reserves record.
New discoveries tied to investment in onshore drilling opportunities in the lower-48 states, specifically shale gas, have been a significant factor in recent increases in reserves. Sustaining the national reserves inventory is a prerequisite for sustaining or growing natural gas production, which is necessary to support future long-term market demand and currently provides more than 90 percent of the natural gas consumed in our nation. The United States currently consumes about 24 Tcf of natural gas per year.
“AGA and its members believe that our domestic natural gas resource base must be developed responsibly. We are committed to the continued safe and reliable extraction, transport and delivery of natural gas to consumers,” said McCurdy.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency did not publish reserves volumes for oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids in 2011. However, for the 30 large domestic reserves holders analyzed in this report and in the previous 2010 AGA Preliminary Reserves report (dated March 29, 2011) company additions to reserves far exceeded production, indicating strong reserves replacement for the nation as a whole. During the past two years the 30 companies in the AGA sample have added more than 40 Tcf of reserves additions, while producing about 22 Tcf – thus their reserves inventory has grown.
You can view the report here.
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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 94 percent — over 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.