Abstract

A summary is presented between five recent estimates of the potential natural gas resource in the United States, including Alaska. Generated between 1995 and 2001 by both private and federal organizations, these estimates concern gas that is potentially recoverable under existing and foreseeable technological conditions. Proved reserves and cumulative production are not included. Thus, the assessments show estimated values for natural gas that remains to be found and developed. These assessments indicate an average total resource of 1549 tcf, or a 67 yr supply at current rates of consumption, approximately nine times the volume of proved reserves (177 tcf) in 2001. A considerable majority of each individual estimate (>70%) is interpreted by the respective organization to exist in conventional reservoirs. A significant percentage (average 17.8%) of each total resource is predicted to lie in tight gas sands, mainly within the coterminous United States. Both the scale and nature of the potential gas resource strongly suggest that a combination of economic incentives, long-term exploration, and improvements to recovery technology will be capable of greatly augmenting recoverable domestic reserves.

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