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John B. Curtis1
(1) Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

Abstract: How sustainable is North American natural gas supply? Location, quantity, and price expectations

Canada, Mexico and the United States are becoming a single market for natural gas. Gas industry research organizations project that United States gas consumption (predominantly supplied by Lower-48 drilling) will increase into the early part of the next century by up to 45%, from the current 22 trillion cubic feet to in excess of 32 trillion cubic feet per year by 2015. These projections typically assume 4 trillion cubic feet/year of gas imported from Canada, and zero net imports/exports for Mexico.

Assessment of a natural resource is a time-dynamic process. Because this process involves estimating the location and magnitude of an inherently unknown quantity, the accuracy of our assessment may be considered to be limited by 1) our perception and understanding of the origin and occurrence of the resource, 2) the quality and distribution of available data from which to project our estimates, and 3) the tools that we employ to facilitate the assessment.

This analysis evaluates the methodologies, results and geographic distribution of North American natural gas resource assessments reported by six organizations from 1995 – 1999. Gas price projections are examined in light of 1) gas price differentials with other Lower 48 producing regions, 2) the effects of pipeline capacity constraints to other market regions, and 3) competition between natural gas and coal in the electric power generation sector. A baseline of current geological and economic realities of North American gas supply is established which will affect future downstream activities.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana