US natgas supply sufficient for next 100 years - industry group

27 January 2010 23:23  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--With current technology and levels of usage, the US has roughly 100 years of natural gas supply, said the head of an industry organisation at a conference on Wednesday.

Potential natural gas reserves in the US amount to around 1,800 trillion cubic feet (tcf), representing about 100 years of supply, said Robert Skaggs, chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based American Gas Association (AGA), at a luncheon held by the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA).

“There has been a 45% increase in supply from 1990 to 2008,” he said.

Natural gas is the primary feedstock for the North American petrochemical industry. It is also used directly in homes and to generate electricity.

The number of households using natural gas has increased more than 70% from 38m in 1970 to 65m in 2009, but the aggregate consumption has remained flat and greenhouse gas emissions have declined because of improved efficiency, noted Skaggs.

Excess supply has caused prices to decline as well. June 2009 prices were 70% lower than June 2008 prices, and modest prices will continue to be seen going forward, said Skaggs.

Front-month natural gas prices on the NYMEX closed at $5.274/MMBtu on Wednesday.

“We have the best proposition from all energy providers,” said Skaggs.

Especially today, natural gas continues to be a compelling investment opportunity, he added.

Currently about 25% of the US economy is run on natural gas, said the AGA.

The US Congress should promote policies encouraging the direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses, such as in water heaters and heat pumps, rather than burning natural gas for electricity then using that energy to power these devices, said Skaggs.

“We can’t be complacent. We need common-sense government policies that promote natural gas use and storage,” Skaggs said.

The AGA believes firmly that natural gas… is one of the solutions to a sustained, secure energy future for the US, he added.

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By: Ivan Lerner
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