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U. S. Shale-Gas Resources, Reserves and Production From 2015 Forward — A Discussion of Potential Gas Committee Shale-Gas Resource Assessments and Methodologies


Projections published in 2014 by the U. S. Energy Information indicate that annual U.S. gas demand could increase from 25.6 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) in 2012 (latest available data) to 31.6 Tcf by the year 2040. This demand total includes initiation and growth of LNG exports, projected to result in the U.S. becoming a net natural gas exporter by 2018. Shale gas production, which dates from 1821 in the United States, accounted for 9.7 Tcf in 2012. Growing shale gas consumption and enhanced understanding of our shale gas endowment are due to improvements in exploration, completion and production technologies, aided by relative stability of wellhead pricing. The current 9.7 Tcf of shale gas production is projected to more than double to 19.8 Tcf by 2040. Given these U.S. Government assumptions, what do we believe about the amount of technically recoverable shale gas? The latest Potential Gas Committee (PGC) biennial assessment, for year-end 2012 (released April 2013), showed an overall increase of 28% (486 Tcf) for total U.S. gas resources compared to year-end 2010. More significantly, shale gas now accounts for 57% of the U.S. gas resource, excluding coalbed methane. The next PGC assessment will be released in April, 2015. This paper analyses shale gas future potential – incorporating both geological and economic realities as viewed by multiple organizations – in light of past production, current proved reserves, and trends in assessment of technically recoverable resources. Current and past PGC methodological approaches are discussed.