US natgas proven reserves reach record high

16 October 2008 22:45  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US proven reserves of natural gas rose 13% in 2007 to 237,700bn cubic feet (bcf), the Energy Department said on Thursday, the highest level in the 31 years that the department has been tracking gas reserves.

 

The department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that exploration and development work by the country’s energy industry in 2007 added a record-high amount of 46,100 bcf of proven gas reserves to the nation’s total.

 

That additional 46,100 bcf of proven reserves added in 2007 is more than double the 19,500 bcf that the US extracted during the year.

 

The US chemicals industry is heavily dependent on natural gas as a feedstock and energy source, and the sector has faced increasing pricing pressures as gas has risen from around $2/m Btu in the decade prior to 2000 to as much as $15/m Btu on the spot market in recent years.

 

More recently, US natgas prices have ranged around $6-7/m Btu.

 

US chemical producers and a broad range of other manufacturers recently won a long-fought campaign to get the US Congress to end its 27-year moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and gas along the country’s east and west coasts.

 

In its advance report on US energy reserves for 2007, the EIA also said that proven oil reserves also made gains last year, marking the first such advance in four years.

 

US proven reserves of oil were increased by 2bn bbl last year, exceeding domestic production of 1.7bn bbl. Year-end proved reserves of oil stood at 21.3bn bbl in 2007, nearly 2% higher than at the end of 2006, the administration said.

 

The greater advances in US proven reserves of natural gas were due in large part to increasing development of unconventional gas resources, especially shale gas, EIA said.

 

Shale gas proven reserves increased by fully 50% in 2007 alone and now account for about 9% of total US proven gas reserves, according to the administration.

 

An industry-funded study issued earlier this year forecast that annual shale gas production in the US could top 14,000 bcf within ten years and that recoverable reserves of shale gas could total 264,000 bcf.  

 

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By: Joe Kamalick
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