InterviewUS has 100 years of natgas reserves - trade group

15 December 2009 21:01  [Source: ICIS news]

By: Joseph Chang

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The US likely has around 100 years of natural gas reserves as a result of recent shale gas discoveries and advanced extraction methods, the chairman of a trade group said on Tuesday.

“We are confident that we now have a 100-year supply of natural gas for domestic use, based on over 20 tcf [trillion cubic feet] used annually today,” said David Trice, chairman of the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), in an interview with ICIS.

“Through most of my career, it never got beyond an eight-year supply. This sea change in natural gas has only occurred over the last three years," he said.

"Back then, we’d be asking: Where will the natural gas come from to meet demand? Today, the conversation is about: How can we create demand because we have so much gas?” he added.

Natural gas is the primary feedstock for the production of petrochemicals in the US.

The proliferation of gas discoveries and enhanced extraction methods used in major shale formations across the US such as the Barnett, the Marcellus, the Haynesville and the Woodford shale regions has boosted the available supply of natural gas, Trice said.

“The industry has proven that the Barnett Shale and others across the country continue to produce and even expand. We have transformed the landscape of North American natural gas,” he said.

ExxonMobil’s announced acquisition of major US natural gas producer XTO Energy for $31bn (€21bn) confirms the power of the shale story, Trice said.

XTO has large exposure to the Barnett, Woodford and Marcellus shale areas, he said.

Natural gas usage in the US can be boosted in the two key areas of power and transportation fuel, Trice said.

“If we’re serious about reducing CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions, gas has to be part of the equation,” Trice said.

“Natural gas is at least 50% cleaner than coal in terms of CO2 emissions and much cleaner in terms of NOx [nitrogen oxides], SOx [sulphur dioxide] and other emissions as well,” he said.

The US has around 440 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired electricity capacity and about 320GW of coal-fired capacity, he said.

As a transportation fuel, natural gas would be ideal for heavy trucks, Trice said.

“Heavy trucks can’t run on batteries, but they can run on a combination of LNG [liquefied natural gas] and CNG [compressed natural gas]. If we do that, we can make a real dent in the amount of oil we import,” he said.

“We have natural gas right here in North America, and we can create lots of jobs," he said.

Natural gas for industrial use, such as by chemical facilities, is expected to rebound from depressed levels but is not considered a growth market in the US, Trice said.

In addition to the ANGA, Trice is also chairman of US oil and gas firm Newfield Exploration. He retired as CEO in May.

($1 = €0.68)

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