An Assessment of the Natural Gas Resource Base of the United States

Date

1988

Authors

Fisher, W. L. (William Lawrence), 1932-
Finley, Robert J.
Seni, Steven J.
Ruppel, Stephen C.
White, William Allen, 1939-
Ayers, Jr., W. B.
Dutton, Shirley P.

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Abstract

The distribution of natural gas in the United States comprises proved reserves in known reservoirs, inferred reserves, undeveloped resources within these reservoirs, and undiscovered resources. Beyond proved reserves, all volumes of future natural gas supply are estimates based on information derived from past and current experience in gas production and reservoir development. Even proved reserves are subject to periodic revision. This assessment begins with an understanding of major components of the natural gas supply derived from existing resource estimates that use established methodologies. In addition to historically defined elements of the resource base, a new component—reserve growth in heterogeneous reservoirs—is quantified in this study.

Resource assessments proceed in their planning and compilation from reasonably well-known quantities (proved reserves) to increasingly less well-known quantities (undiscovered resources). Furthermore, natural gas reservoirs termed unconventional are typically given separate consideration and include gas in low-permeability reservoirs, gas in shale formations such as the Devonian of the Eastern U.S., and coalbed methane resources. This approach has been followed in this assessment. Special note was made of Alaskan gas reserves as they are significant and proven, but transportation for North Slope gas to the Lower 48 states is lacking.

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