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Paul D. Holtberg1
(1) Gas Research Institute, Arlington, VA

Abstract: A U.S. lower-48 gas-resource estimate: Why the gas resource will be adequate to meet demand

Over the past decade, published estimates of the size of the conventional U.S. natural gas resource have increased steadily. Estimates of both new-field and reserve-appreciation potential have increased substantially, and a trend has developed in which estimates of the “ultimately recoverable” conventional resource increase with each new assessment.

The Gas Research Institute annually develops the GRI Baseline Projection, used as a major element in the planning of the GRI R&D program and available to GRI members and other interested parties. A key part of the baseline projection is assessing the size of U.S. and Canadian natural gas resources.

The resource estimate in the GRI projection is developed for 16 supply basins in the lower-48, for all basins in Alaska, and for 5 in Canada. It details new field resource (including separate estimates of associated, high-permeability, low-permeability, shale, coalbed methane, and low-Btu gas) and reserve appreciation (separate estimates of associated, high permeability, and low permeability).

The resource estimate is developed on the basis of (1) current technology and (2) advanced technology (the resource available assuming continued improvement in technology at rates comparable to recent experience). Current and advanced technology resources are then evaluated on the basis of the quantity of gas applicable at $2.00/mcf in each of the two modes.

This paper examines the lower-48 resource estimate developed for the 2000 Edition of the GRI projection. It first examines the basis for the improving perception of the gas-resource base. It then details the GRI new-field and reserve-appreciation estimates, focusing on methodology and implications for gas supply. A comparison with other gas-resource estimates and a basis for differences in the estimates are also included.

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