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U.S. gas production soared 58% on new shale fields.
The U.S. has 2,074 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still in the ground, or nearly a century's worth of production at
Natural gas currently makes up about 25% of U.S. energy consumption.
The surge in gas resources is the result of a five-year-long drilling boom spurred by high natural-gas prices, easy
credit and new technologies that allowed companies to produce gas from a dense kind of rock known as shale.__________________________________________________________________________________________
U.S. Natural-Gas Supplies Surge
By BEN CASSELMAN
June 18, 2009
Wall Street Journal
The amount of natural gas available for production in the U.S. has soared 58% in the past four years
, driven by a drilling boom and the discovery of huge new gas fields in Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania
, a new study says.
The report, due to be released Thursday by the nonprofit Potential Gas Committee, concludes that the U.S. has 2,074 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still in the ground, or nearly a century's worth of production at current rates. That's a 35.4% jump over the committee's previous estimate, in 2007, of 1,532 trillion cubic feet, the biggest increase in the committee's 44-year history
The report comes as rising oil prices have again made energy a hot topic in Washington. Wednesday, a Senate panel voted in favor of an energy bill that would, among other things, open up new areas to offshore drilling. The House may vote as early as next week on a bill that would cap emissions of the gases that contribute to climate change. The Senate must also approve the measure.The natural-gas industry has promoted gas as a domestically produced option that is more environmentally friendly than coal and oil.
Industry supporters said the new report could bolster their case by showing that the U.S. can rely more heavily on gas without running out. Natural gas currently makes up about 25% of U.S. energy consumption.
"Natural gas is right now. The resource is here. The ability to develop it is here,
" said Chris McGill, managing director of policy analysis for the American Gas Association, an industry group.
The new study represents an authoritative confirmation of other recent estimates, including an industry-backed report last summer that concluded the U.S. could have as much as 2,247 trillion cubic feet of gas. Unlike that report, which was based on company estimates, the Potential Gas Committee's study was prepared by industry geologists who analyzed individual gas fields using seismic imagery and production data provided by gas producers.
The surge in gas resources is the result of a five-year-long drilling boom spurred by high natural-gas prices, easy credit and new technologies that allowed companies to produce gas from a dense kind of rock known as shale.
The sudden increase in supplies, combined with a drop in demand amid the recession, has led to a gas glut, pushing prices to about $4 per million British thermal units, down from more than $13 per million BTUs in July.
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