U.S. recoverable natural gas resources have reached a new record, a new study reveals, assuring abundant future supplies and affordable prices. The report adds to existing evidence that the low natural gas prices of the past decade will continue for the foreseeable future.
Technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling a decade ago ushered in a natural gas revolution. Aided by the technological advances, energy companies could access much more natural gas than was previously the case, and at lower cost. For the past 10 years natural gas prices have remained low and stable, providing lower-cost electricity than coal power.
Recoverable U.S. natural gas reserves in trillion cubic feet. Image courtesy of the Potential Gas Committee.
The new study by petroleum engineers at the Potential Gas Committee provides assurance that natural gas resources will remain abundant and prices will remain low absent government interference with the marketplace. Abundant natural gas should keep the cost of natural gas electricity lower or comparable to coal power. Coal dominated U.S. and global electricity generation during the past century, despite environmental concerns, due to its low cost. Natural gas power emits very few pollutants and performs well in full-spectrum environmental assessments.
The Potential Gas Committee reports the United States has 2,817 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, which is the largest amount reported in the 52-year history of its biannual assessments. The new figure represents a 12-percent increase in the record natural gas reserves reported in its previous assessment two years ago. Even if no more natural gas were discovered and no more technological advances allowed for additional recovery, the United States could consume natural gas at its present rate for more than a century before existing recoverable reserves run out.