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In the past two decades, production from coal-bed methane and shale gas reservoirs has more than doubled in the United States and now provides about 16% of total annual gas production. Estimating resources and reserves in these reservoirs is challenging and requires a thorough understanding of (1) the factors that control the storage, distribution, and production of this gas, (2) the data required to properly characterize these reservoirs, (3) the techniques used to forecast well and reservoir performance, and (4) the rules and guidelines governing the assignment of resources and reserves.

It is important not just to estimate proven reserves, but all reserves and resources classes in order to capture the full spectrum of development opportunities. Accurate estimates require detailed information, but since little of this may be available, it is up to the evaluator to exercise good judgment and apply techniques that capture the inherent uncertainty in the estimates. It is also important to recognize that the rules, guidelines, and techniques are still under development for unconventional gas, and that it may be several years before consistent procedures are applied throughout the industry.

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