Energy industry experts who comprise the Potential Gas Committee announced Wednesday the volume of producible natural gas in the U.S. has jumped roughly 20% since their last assessment two years ago.
The increase of 557 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) reported by the Pgc is the highest assessment in its 54-year history. The organization estimates total recoverable resources at 3,374 Tcf — enough to sustain current levels of U.S. natural gas consumption for more than a century, Kallanish Energy reports.
Increase due to reassessments
The increase resulted from reassessments of shale gas resources in the Atlantic and Mid-Continent areas and conventional and tight gas in the Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain areas, the committee said.
“This seventh consecutive record-high resource evaluation by the PGC confirms that the U.S. has an abundance of natural gas. These resources are present in various reservoirs both onshore and offshore,” said 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 2018 assessment of 3,374 Tcf includes 3,218 Tcf of gas potentially recoverable from “traditional” reservoirs (conventional, tight sands, carbonates, and shales) and 157 Tcf in coalbed methane reservoirs. Compared to year-end 2016, traditional resources increased by 559 Tcf (21%), while coalbed gas resources decreased by roughly 2 Tcf.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration 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 (464 Tcf of natural gas as of year-end 2017), the U.S. future supply of natural gas stands at a record 3,838 Tcf, an increase of 697 Tcf (22%) over the previous evaluation.
“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,” Milkov said.
Pgc reports the potential resources at the national level as well as for seven individual geographic areas and 90 geological “provinces.”
Atlantic area leads the way
The Atlantic area ranks as the country’s richest resource area, with 41% of total U.S. traditional resources, followed by the Mid-Continent with 19%, the Gulf Coast (including the Gulf of Mexico) with 16%, and the Rocky Mountains with 16%.
Changes in the total assessment from year-end 2016 to year-end 2018 arose primarily from the evaluation of recent drilling, well-test and production data from these four areas.
The largest volumetric gains (264 Tcf, or 25%) were reported in the Atlantic area. The major reason for the increase is new drilling and production results from Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in the Appalachian Basin.
Mid-Continent assessments up 66%
Mid-Continent assessments rose by 245 Tcf (66%), reflecting intensive developments of conventional, tight and shale reservoirs in the Permian Basin.
Gas resources in the Rocky Mountain area increased by 65 Tcf (15%). This resource growth reflects large revisions in the Williston Basin and the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Specifically, Pgc more rigorously accounted for the gas associated with production of liquids in those basins.
The Gulf Coast area had a modest overall decrease of 22 Tcf (4%). The main reason for reduction was downsizing of the type well in the Eagle Ford Shale play, and lack of resource additions to replace production from the Eagle Ford and the Haynesville Shale plays.
Shale gas of immense importance
The importance of shale gas in the U.S. is evidenced by the fact the Pgc’s mean total assessed shale gas resource of 2,107 Tcf for year-end 2018 accounts for roughly 62% of the country’s total potential resources. The growth of shale gas resources from year-end 2016 to year-end 2018 was 310 Tcf (17%).
The numbers represent what the committee sees as technically recoverable gas, it noted, encompassing “probable,” “possible” and “speculative” resources that may not currently be economical to develop.
The group of roughly 80 volunteer geoscientists and engineers does not include “proved reserves” in its analysis — a smaller category of gas that’s reasonably certain to be produced under current market and operating conditions.
The Potential Gas Committee is a nonprofit supported by multiple gas groups, including the American Gas Association.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.