U.S. crude oil/lease condensate proved reserves increased by 9%, to 39.9 billion barrels (BBbls), and natural gas proved reserves increased by 10%, to 389 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2014, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Monday.
EIA, in its “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves” report, states U.S. crude oil/lease condensate proved reserves reached the highest level since 1972, and natural gas proved reserves surpassed 2013’s record level.
Proved reserves are volumes of oil and natural gas that geologic and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.
Because they depend on economic factors, proved reserves shrink or grow as commodity prices and development costs change. EIA’s estimates of proved reserves are based on an annual survey of domestic oil and natural gas well operators.
Texas had the largest increase in proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate, representing 60% of the nation’s total net increase in 2014, EIA found. The increase was driven by development of tight oil plays, including Wolfcamp and Bone Spring in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale play.
North Dakota had the second-largest increase, 362 MMBbls, primarily from the Bakken tight oil play in the Williston Basin.
Proved natural gas reserves were added onshore in the Lower 48 states in several shale plays, particularly the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Eagle Ford in Texas, the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma, and Ohio’s Utica Shale play.
Natural gas in shale plays now represents slightly more than half the U.S. total natural gas proved reserves, according to EIA.
Continuing low prices for crude oil and natural gas in 2015 are expected to reduce oil and natural gas proved reserves in EIA’s next annual report (for year-end 2015).
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