The growth of sales of natural gas has been one of the outstanding industrial developments of the United States during the past 25 years. During this period, the estimated reserves of natural gas have been increasing at an even more rapid rate. Pipe-line projects approved by the Federal Power Commission indicate a sudden increase in the use of natural gas for the period just ahead. To maintain the comfortable ratio of gas reserves to sales enjoyed by the industry in the past, important additional reserves will have to be discovered.
The large sedimentary basins, remnants of more extensive areas of deposition, are the loci of geological conditions necessary for important accumulations of oil and gas. In the successful exploration of these basins, the role of the geologist in interpreting well data for the correlation of deeply buried strata far from outcrop and in directing exploration to areas of favorable depositional facies of potential reservoir beds will be of the utmost importance.
The status of exploration and prospects for further discoveries of 33 important basin areas in the United States are briefly discussed in the paper. On the basis of available data, of those basins which are adequately explored so that geologic conditions are fairly well established, the Anadarko, Midland, and Gulf embayments offer the greatest promise of discovery of substantial reserves. Of these, the Gulf embayment, defined as including the area from beyond the Rio Grande to the east side of the Mississippi delta and including the tidelands area, is believed to have the greatest prospects. Accordingly, it appears that in the future, as at the present time, more than half of the gas reserves of the United States will be in fields situated in Texas.