The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Natural Gas Notables

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 16, 2013

A pair of noteworthy items point to the sustainability of America’s shale natural gas revolution – and also its added benefits.

First, the newest biennial report by the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) says the United States has a total future natural gas supply of 2,688 trillion cubic feet (tcf) as of the end of 2012, a significant increase from its 2010 year-end estimate. Details:

  • 2,384 tcf in technically recoverable reserves, including 2,226 tcf from conventional sources, tight sands and carbonates and shales, plus 158 tcf in coalbed reserves. The overall future supply number is the sum of PGC’s technically recoverable figure and the Energy Department’s latest figure for proved reserves (dry gas).
  • Compared to the year-end 2010 estimate, assessed resources increased by 28 percent.
  • The assessment is the highest in PGC’s 48-year history.

Dr. John B. Curtis, professor of geology and geological engineering at the Colorado School of Mines:

“The PGC’s year-end 2012 assessment reaffirms the Committee’s conviction that abundant, recoverable natural gas resources exist within our borders, both onshore and offshore, and in all types of reservoirs—from conventional, ‘tight’ and shales, to coals. … Our knowledge of the geological endowment of technically recoverable gas continues to improve with each assessment. Furthermore, new and advanced exploration, well drilling, completion and stimulation technologies are allowing us increasingly better delineation of and access to domestic gas resources—especially ‘unconventional’ gas—which, not all that long ago, were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue. Consequently, our present assessment, strengthened by robust domestic production levels, demonstrates an exceptionally strong and optimistic gas supply picture for the nation.”

More from AOL Energy, here.

Second, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2012 were the lowest since 1994. EIA says the largest emissions drop came from coal – largely because of increased natural gas use. Except for 2010, EIA says U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen every year since 2007. EIA’s chart:

A couple of points. As Dr. Curtis mentioned, the U.S. natural gas revolution is the result of better knowledge of resources and advancements in well development and stimulation technologies. Key here is hydraulic fracturing. Combined with horizontal drilling, fracking is rewriting America’s energy narrative before our very eyes, with benefits accruing in energy, job creation and economic stimulus.

PGC’s higher reserves estimate suggests that with the right policies – in terms of access to reserves and common-sense oversight – this energy renaissance can be sustained for some time. This can mean affordable, available energy to meet domestic needs as well as supplies for friendly buyers overseas. The export of liquefied natural gas would help ensure robust domestic production while bringing wealth from abroad into the U.S. in the form of free trade. At the same time, increased use of clean-burning natural gas is helping make our air healthier.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.