America’s Huge Natural Gas Reserves

Greg Wrightstone, the Managing Director of the CO2 Coalition, has a new blog post describing the sadly underdeveloped super-giant natural gas fields along the U.S. East Coast. The combination of the Marcellus and Utica Shale reservoirs have more recoverable gas than any other gas field in the world, except for South Pars/North Dome in Qatar and Iran. With government restrictions removed we could easily replace all the gas currently purchased from Russia by the rest of the world and have plenty more for our own consumption.

Mr. Wrightstone has years of experience studying the Marcellus and Utica shales, he knows what he is talking about. He is also the author of the best-selling book, Inconvenient Facts: The Science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know.

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Tom Halla
April 12, 2022 2:04 pm

Let’s go, Brandon! This is a purely political issue. The last energy crisis was dealt with by removing Jimmy Carter.

Kenji
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 13, 2022 6:23 am

… and my energy was VERY affordable and available during the 4 glorious years of the Trump Administration. If not for those mean tweets … Right? We traded mean tweets and a superb economy for a dementia patient and more Carteresque malaise. Election theft took more than just our votes … it’s taking our hard earned money too. Lots of it.

duane
Reply to  Kenji
April 13, 2022 9:10 am

That’s because oil and gas demand cratered during the Trump administration … because the economy cratered under Trump, due to COVID which neither President ever had any control over. Then the economy recovered like gangbusters by the time Trump was booted out of office by the voters (GDP growth for all of 2021 was 5.7%, far higher than any year or even quarter during the Trump administration), which fully restored the demand for oil and gas, but production increases always lag demand increases, especially radical increases in demand.

And then of course the other reason for the recent runup in oil and gas prices is the Russian war with Ukraine – that would be Putin, Trump’s BFF, war on Ukraine.

paul courtney
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 12:54 pm

Mr. duane: You refuse to listen to that Mark Twain fellow when he says you should keep quiet. Instead, you talk and prove what you don’t know (rather than leave us to guess). The economy cratered in 2009, and stayed cratered while Obama/Biden kept it down. The economy was doing so well under Trump before covid that you and your friends in the press were afraid he was gonna get re-elected bigly. You are correct that Fauci’s lockdowns hurt the economy and drove down gas consumption, some thought he did that to hurt Trump. And the economy was recovering in time to get Trump the win before you and your friends decided to manufacture more votes to count. In any event, the Trump recovery didn’t seem to raise gas prices, did it? Those started up after the election, before Ukraine. Biden’s campaign pledge was to kill off fossil fuels, why don’t you congratulate the B word for keeping a promise?

DipChip
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 2:03 pm

Per the BLS today’s employment still does not match the employment of Dec 2019, 158.8 million. 5.7 % of nothing isn’t much but obfuscation.

Reply to  DipChip
April 13, 2022 2:12 pm

Labor Force Participation Rate…

DipChip
Reply to  David Middleton
April 13, 2022 6:36 pm

Maybe some one should have also pointed out that a current GDP of 8.6% if adjusted for inflation is a Zero GDP increase.

stinkerp
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 5:50 pm

Of course the GDP growth rate following a (self-inflected) recession would be higher over the first few months and even year during the recovery; because the economy is recovering and making up ground it lost during the recession when the growth rate was negative.

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth

Basic economics. It has nothing to do with Biden or Trump. The recession was caused, not by COVID-19, but the government responses to it, mostly by the states. Trump suggested (but didn’t impose) a two week pause to “flatten the curve” of hospital admissions. Governors of most states took it even further; often to wild and unreasonable excess that had no basis in science. That’s where the maximum economic damage was done.

Had most governors been paying attention to the data and historical pandemics, they would have realized by mid-2020 that COVID-19 mortality rates were close to the 1957 Asian Flu and 1968 Hong Kong Flu which hardly anyone remembers. But media-fueled panic impelled people to think it was another 1917 Spanish Flu, which was nearly 60 times worse.

yirgach
Reply to  stinkerp
April 14, 2022 10:38 am

“Governors of most states took it even further; often to wild and unreasonable excess that had no basis in science.”

The real killer was that of the roughly 1M doctors in the US, only about 1000 upheld their Hippocratic oath and prescribed illegal early treatments using repurposed drugs which kept their patients out of hospitals and away from the deadly medical care ordered by the toady medical establishment.

Doug B
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 6:09 pm

I never down voted anyone before but I did for this.

Ted
Reply to  duane
April 14, 2022 9:43 am

Putin might consider the people that gave him control of a large portion of US uranium, a free pass to take Crimea, and released billions of dollars to his only major ally in exchange for a pinky swear to be better friends than Trump.

duane
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 13, 2022 9:03 am

You instantly beclown yourself with the reference to the B word. Really, how infantile!

Secondly, ALL of the natural gas production outlined in the post we’re commenting on is located on private or state owned lands in the Appalachian area and Texas, over which no President or EPA has any say so on locating pipelines, and does not require a Federal permit. That’s strictly a state issue. Last I checked, those states (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas) are all run by Republicans. So go complain to them.

The much ballyhooed Keystone Pipeline II was cancelled by the Biden administration because it require a Federal permit due to its crossing Federally owned and tribal owned lands over which the Federal government has jurisdiction. There are literally thousands of pipelines all over the US that never required Federal permits. The enviros made a big deal out of Keystone II (you do realize that the Keystone I pipeline has existed for many years, and that the II pipeline was just adding a spur that happened to cross over Federally controlled lands), because it was a symbol of their beef on climate change … and became likewise a symbol of conservatives for the same reason – climate change opposition. That particular pipeline has a minimal impact on anything, climate or pipeline capacity.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 11:11 am

People should pay attention when Duane talks about beclowning oneself. A Beclown Yoda he is!

Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 12:45 pm

Duane

PA is run by a democrat Gov Tom Wolf, and he has turned a boom natural gas economy in to a shadow of its self.

paul courtney
Reply to  duane
April 13, 2022 12:57 pm

Mr. duane: You show a lack of understanding regarding energy that exceeds our friend bigoilbrandon, and that’s a vast lack.

Don
Reply to  paul courtney
April 14, 2022 8:30 pm

Guessing “duane” an alias for griff… they both demonstrate the same level of idiocy.

George Daddis
Reply to  duane
April 14, 2022 6:32 am

“…Keystone Pipeline II was cancelled by the Biden administration because it require a Federal permit due to its crossing Federally owned and tribal owned lands…”
The pipe line had been approved!
Biden revoked that approval, without going through the necessary steps required for revocation.

Lewis P Buckingham
April 12, 2022 2:18 pm

Is this map accurate.
It does not mention Australia’s gas reserves.
https://www.ga.gov.au/digital-publication/aecr2021/gas

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
April 12, 2022 2:29 pm

If you click on the link in the article to his blog post, I believe the map is for the top ten gas fields.

Warren Inman
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 12, 2022 2:55 pm

No, they just forgot Australia.

Reply to  Warren Inman
April 12, 2022 4:27 pm

Most people do.

toorightmate
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 12, 2022 5:40 pm

These days, deservedly so!!!

Simon
Reply to  toorightmate
April 12, 2022 8:27 pm

That’s OK, Australia forgets Tasmania.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Leo Smith
April 13, 2022 11:38 am

What did they forget?

ross
Reply to  Warren Inman
April 12, 2022 7:35 pm

I understand them forgetting Australia but NZ as well. I used to own a tradesman work van that was dual fuel petrol/gas and while driving you could just flick a switch on the dash between the two options and the performance difference was unnoticeable. As a backup or alternative fuel it was great and NZ has good gas reserves,. But the greens have determined that this is also a dirty filthy fossil fuel.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 2:19 am

About 3 weeks ago a new gas field was found off the north west shelf I think.
I cannot find it on a search.
The data I provided is 2019.
From that Australia is exporting proportionally more of its gas reserves than other countries.

Sean
April 12, 2022 2:27 pm

I’ve read that Europes gas reserves are half to 2/3’s those of the US. If the EU had not outlawed fracking after Nord Stream 2 had been approved, they wouldn’t be funding Putin’s aggression.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Sean
April 12, 2022 2:39 pm

Actually, no. Just looked it up. Per a 2013 German report, EU has 14 trillion cubic meters of technically recoverable fracked shale gas. (still, a LOT, and your observation is correct.) Per USGS in 2020, the US has 207 trillion cubic meters of TRR. A LOT more. US is the Saudi Arabia of natgas thanks to fracking.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 4:45 pm

Oh no no no! Big oily boob will splain it to you. Fracking is a flash in the pan. Unsustainable! Gotta go with bird choppers.

Reply to  Sean
April 12, 2022 3:23 pm

No one really knows exactly, but it is safe to say there is more enough gas. Problem is, since drilling for and exploring gas is illegal, let alone production, there is little effort put into it. So yes, it is a totally artificial problem with domestic politics to blame.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  E. Schaffer
April 13, 2022 5:42 am

I am 100% sure that no one has any idea how much gas there is in places that have never had significant exploration.

Derg
Reply to  Sean
April 12, 2022 6:21 pm

Someone else will buy the oil, gas, fertilizer…the stuff the world actually needs.

Doonman
Reply to  Sean
April 13, 2022 10:50 am

I think any amount of natural gas still burns at night and when the wind is still, doesn’t it?

ResourceGuy
April 12, 2022 2:28 pm

The U.S. will have lawsuits, pipeline protests, advocacy payoff donations, and media paid- news ad buys to make the economic size of the Marcellus field equal to one of the tiny gas fields in other countries. Maybe if the union pension and campaign donation funds were re-organized as shale drillers, we could produce and deliver gas in the current political landscape. Otherwise fuggedaboutit, let them eat utility rate increases for the next decade.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 12, 2022 3:16 pm

Biden may not last to 2024. Even If he does, in 2025 US goes energy independent again. Under Trump, again.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 4:50 pm

Oh I don’t know. Early mail-in voting should start in January 2023. Please take a couple ballots and photocopy them. Here’s a ream of paper. We’re shooting for Brandon to get 800 million votes next time.

Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 2:29 pm

The Utica mostly underlies Marcellus except in eastern Ohio, where it is the source rock for some small conventional oil plays. Because it is deeper, it is almost untapped right now. And Marcellus is not close to fully tapped, thanks to the stupid New York fracking ban. So far, mostly drilled in Pa and WVa.

And, unlike fracked tight oil where recovery factors average 1.5% and MIGHT get to 3-4% with better fracking and more proppant, shale gas recovery is already about 15% and can probably get to 25%. That is all very good US natgas news.

Davis
April 12, 2022 2:32 pm

Like a millionaire with a twisted view of money and would rather starve to death than spend any on food, we will sit on our reserves while we also freeze and stave to death.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Davis
April 13, 2022 5:53 am

It is always darkest in the middle of the night.
The dawn will come, the sun will rise, light will be shed, and people will wake up.
It is just a matter of time.

Even low information types will eventually understand that ending our main sources of energy makes it very expensive, and expensive energy makes everything very expensive.
Moreover, the amount that prices can rise is essentially unlimited.

Remember when the geniuses in government and finance and the banks led us over the cliff with housing loans?
Those same people are the ones leading us all-in on intermittents, and “green energy”, and climate change madness.
Are they stupid or fatally greedy or what?
What explains how they can be so wrong about such big important things?

It does not matter. What matters is they are wrong and once again leading us over the cliff.

They are driving our economy right into the ditch, and the result of that will be the same as it has always been.
The only question is, how quickly can they be shoved out of the driver’s seat.
It is always darkest in the middle of the night.
The dawn will come, the sun will rise, light will be shed, and people will wake up.
It is just a matter of time.

Even low information types will eventually understand that ending our main sources of energy makes it very expensive, and expensive energy makes everything very expensive.
Moreover, the amount that prices can rise is essentially unlimited.

Remember when the geniuses in government and finance and the banks led us over the cliff with housing loans?
Those same people are the ones leading us all-in on intermittents, and “green energy”, and climate change madness.
Are they stupid or fatally greedy or what?
What explains how they can be so wrong about such big important things?

It does not matter. What matters is they are wrong and once again leading us over the cliff.

They are driving our economy right into the ditch, and the result of that will be the same as it has always been.
The only question is, how quickly can they be shoved out of the driver’s seat?

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
bigoilbob
April 12, 2022 2:52 pm

Don’t you claim oilfield cred? If so, you wouldn’t be using the term “reserves” in your header. This is not nitpicky. “Reserves” means economically recoverable, under current regs. You might not like body of law on water crossings, but the courts, including SCOTUS, recognizes them. So the volumes under discussion are not, now, “reserves”.

At least in the body of your post, you use the more defensible term, “recoverable”. That term begs the question of what must be done at what cost, and with what law changes, to “recover” these volumes, but it is at least technically correct.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 12, 2022 3:01 pm

BOB, you again reveal your ignorance. There are at least 3 legally correct reserve definitions. Booked reserves (tapped, what the SEC wants to see), economically recoverable reserves (untapped, but [if for SEC also leased] viable viable at current prices), and technically recoverable reserves (TRR, viable at higher future prices). Your constant criticism here of Andy and Dave posts, both career petroleum geologists, just shows you aren’t one.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 3:11 pm

Since I’ve worked as a reservoir engineer, I’m aware. But “reserves” with no modifier, explicitly refers to SEC reserves. Using the term sloppily is a common bait and switch of those who want to either intentionally confuse, or who don’t know any better.

And FYI, unlike reserves changes based on costs, prices, that you mentioned, and improved practices that you didn’t, there is no reserves category available, for recovery increases “If only the laws were to change”.

Last edited 2 months ago by bigoilbob
Derg
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 12, 2022 6:23 pm

Reservoir engineer 😉

People must have loved your reports.

velcro
Reply to  Derg
April 13, 2022 12:35 pm

Bob is correct

Ron Long
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 3:14 pm

Maybe Bob works in a Jiffy Lube?

LdB
Reply to  Ron Long
April 12, 2022 7:16 pm

I was thinking more like vasoline or hemorrhoid cream

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Ron Long
April 13, 2022 6:04 am

He never said he was a good reservoir engineer.
Every classroom I have ever been in has a bunch of people who barely keep up, a few who will fail the class, and a few who learn the lessons very well.
But lot’s of those in the “barely keeping up” group wind up passing and getting degrees.
At which point they consider themselves fully educated, and both themselves and others consider them “experts”.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 13, 2022 12:16 pm

Big Oil Bob is right on this one.

Those aren’t reserves. They are contingent resources.

comment image

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/313478/000031347814000005/hkni_10k123113ex991.htm

Reserves are what is defined by existing wellbores. Proved reserves (1p) have at least a 90% probability of being recovered during the economic life of a well. Probable reserves (1p+2p) are the >50% estimate, sometimes referred to as “most likely.” Possible reserves (1p+2p+3p) are the >10% estimate.

Last edited 2 months ago by David Middleton
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 1:09 pm

Shale plays are definitely more difficult to quantify, because traditional volumetrics don’t really apply very well.

Even proved undeveloped (PUD’s) reserves have to be defined in an existing wellbore, recoverable from existing wells and/or infrastructure and you have to do so within 5 years of booking them.

It’s not hair splitting. The SEC, with the advice of the SPE, tightened the rules in order to prevent this sort of thing from happening:

According to the SEC’s complaint, El Paso restated its financial statements for years 1999 through 2002 and the first nine months of 2003, reducing its previously reported proved natural gas and oil reserves over that time period by more than 35 percent and reducing its cumulative earnings through Sept. 30, 2003, by $1.7 billion. CGP and EPPH also restated their previously issued financial statements to correct their material overstatements of proved natural gas and oil reserves, standardized measures of future cash flows, and capitalized costs relating to oil and gas properties.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that in an environment of weak internal controls, El Paso assigned proved reserves to unproved reservoirs, attributed proved reserves to wells and undrilled locations without sufficient underlying data, and failed to take into account negative drilling and production trends when estimating and reporting its proved reserves. For example, El Paso gained information from its drilling activities suggesting that certain fields were not producing as predicted, but failed to investigate adequately the reasons for the negative trends or to reduce those estimates.

https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-138.htm

It’s one thing to take PUD’s off the books, because they don’t pan out (we used to jokingly call them “proved-undiscovered”). It’s another thing to write off 35% of your proved reserves because they weren’t reserves.

Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 5:22 pm

Netherland and Sewell, DeGolyer and McNaughton, Ryder-Scott, etc. do.

https://ryderscott.com/services/shale-reserves-certification/

Putting in a plug for Ryder-Scott is about as unnatural for me as agreeing with Big Oil Bob… 😉

paul courtney
Reply to  David Middleton
April 14, 2022 11:49 am

Mr. Middleton: Yet, when you agreed with him you said so. Has bob ever returned the courtesy?
If he had shown any bit of integrity here, I might avoid disrespecting him by calling him ‘bigoilbrandon”.

Reply to  paul courtney
April 14, 2022 12:04 pm

He actually has… But not without surrounding it with bloviation… 😉

Last edited 2 months ago by David Middleton
Rich Davis
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 12, 2022 4:56 pm

An example of begging the question:

Big oily boob is a jackass because big oily boobs are jackasses.

An example of raising a question:

Since big oily boob is such a disruptive jackass, who is paying him to be such a big jackass?

otsar
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 12, 2022 6:53 pm

Don’t compare this critter to jackass. Jackasses are hard working non skittish animals that actually think before they act. Probably more like a mockingbird that carries on at 2 in the morning.

Rich Davis
Reply to  otsar
April 13, 2022 4:50 am

Correction accepted!

bigoilbob
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 2:48 am

I think you understand that SEC reserves are too low.”

I understand that “reserves”, unmodified are SEC reserves. They are at present prices, and whatever costs you can sell to the SEC. They are used for comparisons, and do not always reflect actual EUR’s. But I have seen them cut nearly as often as increased. Shell, in the late ’90’s, is a good example.

If you disagree with lazy investors using SEC reserves to compare investments, line forms behind me. But the way to stop that is to be clear on what you are describing. As in, avoid this loaded term, unmodified, in your header.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 6:13 am

We have dug up and pumped and used ever higher amounts of all of these resources, and so are now using them at a far higher rate than was the case in years past.
Given this fact, one might expect that there should be less left.

But it has continuously been the case that what is “known” to remain under the ground has been ever increasing.
And this is true by every metric…whether it be total amounts, or years worth at current rates of usage or whatever.

The logical conclusion is that all past and therefore all present evaluations of the existing quantities have been and remain vastly understated and underestimated.
The more we look the more we find, and the places where we are extracting the most are the places where we keep finding out there is more than we thought.

Places that have little or no extraction or plans to extract, have very little in the way of exploration, and so are the places where the amount down there is the most vastly underestimated.

QED.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
David A
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 13, 2022 8:23 am

The more we look the more we find,”

Yes, Peak oil, peek and you will find it.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 13, 2022 11:37 am

We have essentially the same amount of official oil reserves today as we did a half century ago. Yet, in each of the roughly 17,500 days in between, we pumped no less than 5 million barrels of oil out of the ground. (I bet we averaged > 7MM bbls/day for that half century.)

FACT: The oil pumped out of American soil in the last five decades exceeded the Official Reserves of a half century ago by 25%. And, FACT: Our current official reserves are at least the same as they were back then.

Malthusianism is a mental disorder.

Rich Davis
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 13, 2022 5:10 am

Why should anyone disagree with “lazy investors” doing ANYTHING, boob? How is it anybody else’s business but their own?

The trouble with leftist loons like you is that you can’t just live your own life badly, you have to interfere in everybody’s business. It’s not enough for you and your ilk to do stupid things with your own money. You’re driven to see an all-powerful government force your stupidity on the rest of us.

Reply to  bigoilbob
April 13, 2022 12:06 pm

Big Oil Bob is right on this one. Reserves are economically recoverable, from existing wells and/or infrastructure, using existing methods & technology.

The undeveloped portions of the Marcellus/Utica are technically recoverable resources, irrespective of the reason why they remain undeveloped.

This doesn’t diminish the HUGENESS… The Marcellus/Utica are FRACKING YUGE.

Last edited 2 months ago by David Middleton
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 12:52 pm

It still has to be recoverable from existing wells and/or infrastructure. Even PUD’s, which might require a new well or sidetrack, have to be recoverable within five years of the booking date, or they have to come off the books.

After 2020, proved reserves took a huge hit due to prices. When we book year-end reserves this year, there’ll be a huge gain. Even though the total volume likely to be produced hasn’t changed much.

Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 5:16 pm

It is the definition. It’s the SEC definition. It’s the SPE definition. Netherland and Sewell, DeGolyer and MacNaughton, Ryder-Scott, etc. don’t find it confusing. If you have a reserves auditor who finds it confusing, you need to find a new auditor. If I had $1 for every time I’ve had to fight Netherland and Sewell over 0.2 Bcf or a 200,000 bbl, I wouldn’t have to put up with annual fights with them.

The overall thrust of Greg’s essay is accurate. It’s just that “resource” is the correct terminology for most of the references to “reserves.”

Warren Inman
April 12, 2022 2:54 pm

Looks like Australia hasn’t got any according to that map. Wonder how we export so much of the stuff?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Warren Inman
April 12, 2022 3:25 pm

Easy to forget ‘down under’ when you are ‘up over’?

Alternatively, just looked up ‘proven reserves’ AUS rank. (Note, proven reserves are drilled so producing.) AUS is 27th globally, way behind Iran, Quatar, Russia, US (top 4 in proven reserves). But very convenient LNG to Asia.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Warren Inman
April 12, 2022 5:00 pm

Maybe it’s counted as part of the EU. By the way, your English is pretty good for someone who speaks Austrian.

James F. Evans
April 12, 2022 2:58 pm

All in the political will.

Chris Hanley
April 12, 2022 3:13 pm

Can it be mere coincidence that the largest deposits are in probably the most explored regions, there is probably a lot more down there waiting to be discovered.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 12, 2022 3:18 pm

I Like that thought.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 12, 2022 3:31 pm

CH, I explored your idea at length in parts of two ebooks. Turns out not true. The amount of unexplored fossil fuel terrain (here natural gas, but also true generally) is quite small, mostly some Arctic and some deepwater. In fact, there are mathematical ways (creaming curves, probit transforms) to show convincingly that about 75% of the oil and gas resources ever to be discovered already have been. They are, after all, fossil fuels (except for a minor amount of abiogenic natural gas, but NOT any abiogenic crude oil).

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Andy May
April 12, 2022 6:32 pm

Andy, my comment was to discovered, not to produced. There is a lot that has been discovered but not yet produced, as your comment about EU fracking bans makes clear.

David A
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 8:26 am

also the means to extract are ever improving.

THOMAS ENGLERT
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 12, 2022 7:06 pm

Does the 75% include Antarctica gas and oil resources?

Reply to  THOMAS ENGLERT
April 13, 2022 12:57 pm

or off the coast of south west africa?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 13, 2022 7:01 am

The basic geology of the Marcellus shale has been known for a very long time…the types of rock, how deep, the thickness, and the aerial extent.
And yet between 2002 and 2011 the amount of gas in this rock was revised by orders of magnitude, and even by 2011 different experts had widely disparate views of the size of the resource.
Who can say what will be the case in decades hence?

If we make estimates using what we can say for sure about present day prices and technology, we get one range of estimates.
But if we look back at the history of revisions over long periods of time, a different picture emerges…one of continuous underestimations.

It can be helpful to look at what various experts had to say in years past.
Here is an article from 2011:
“The Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York State Attorney General’s Office are investigating industry estimates of gas reserves, which are more optimistic than the federal projections.
Indeed, during recent sessions with investment analysts, four big Marcellus operators – Chesapeake Energy Corp., Range Resources Corp., Ultra Resources Inc., and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. – estimated their combined 2.9 million acres contain 76 Tcf, nearly as much as the USGS estimates for the entire formation.
The EIA says it is waiting to set its estimate once the USGS provides more information about its assessment to understand where the agencies diverge. “We will not be able to be more precise until that work is completed,” said Jonathan Cogan, an administration spokesman.

Even at 84 Tcf, the Marcellus still contains a lot of gas, more than any of other shale-gas plays, according to the USGS.
Just three years ago, Pennsylvania State University professor Terry Engelder and a colleague, Gary Lash, estimated the Marcellus Shale could contain as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, a number so astonishing that it triggered a land rush.
Engelder later increased his estimate to 363 Tcf and then nearly 450 Tcf, based upon actual production data.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition argues that the USGS numbers are low because its methodology discounts undeveloped parts of the shale.”

The spin on changing Marcellus gas estimates (inquirer.com)

My position is that there is no such thing as the last word on such matters.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 13, 2022 8:21 am

“Can it be mere coincidence that the largest deposits are in probably the most explored regions, there is probably a lot more down there waiting to be discovered.”

Good question!
I recently had the same thought on another thread here.
(Took me a while to find it. I wish WUWT had a search function, or allowed one to look up a list of all of one’s previous comments.)

Here is a small part of what I had said:
“A large part of the reason the US has so much of this resource in the category of proven reserves, is because a lot of time and money and effort has been expended in looking for it by people who knew they can make money if they find it.
Does the US really have a uniquely huge amount of nearly every energy resource known, or have we spent a lot more time and effort to locate what is under the ground?”

Gas Rationing? Germany Paying a Horrible Price for Decades of Green Energy Insanity – Watts Up With That?

It is true that we tend to look where we know things can be found, but it is just as true that in some places they do not want to find it, so very little looking has been done.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Walter Sobchak
April 12, 2022 3:19 pm

I have observed that many readers of WWUT are not US residents.

For their information, the shale beds cited above are not in the metropolitan areas of the US East Coast, such as New York and Washington.Nor are they on the Atlantic littoral or continental shelf.

The Marcellus and Utica shale beds are in the Appalachian mountains well to the west of the cities on the coastal plains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcellus_Formation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utica_Shale

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 12, 2022 6:39 pm

And at least 10000 feet below those mountains, when the deepest freshwater aquifers are less than about 1000 feet down, which is why the Marcellus wells are double steel cased and cemented down 1000 feet to insure ground water purity.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rud Istvan
Sturmudgeon
April 12, 2022 3:24 pm

Have the experts in this field determined one way or another that (petroleum?) is continually produced, rather than a “fossil fuel”? I know that there has been ‘discussion’ on this, but wonder whether there has been a final conclusion.

AndyHce
Reply to  Sturmudgeon
April 12, 2022 6:50 pm

It is unlikely there will be a final conclusion. It seems to be accepted that some methane is produced by physical, mechanical means at very deep ocean pressures but maybe not enough quantity to be significant for human use even if it could be ‘recovered’. Physical chemists have ‘proved’ that more complex hydrocarbons can be produce by enough pressure and temperature. Those necessary conditions can only exist much deeper than people are ever likely to be able to get at them. Some believe such hydrocarbons, if they exist, could percolate upward over time, others point out that conditions are such that any such molecules would be broken down again before they reach recoverable depth. Thus maybe it could exist but direct evidence may never be possible.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  AndyHce
April 13, 2022 12:38 pm

Hydrates!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Sturmudgeon
April 13, 2022 7:10 am

As a practical matter, it is only by exploring where underlying rocks are known to be of a type and age that contain organic matter that originated from biological sources, that economically recoverable amounts of these substances have been found and removed.

Steve Case
April 12, 2022 3:59 pm

Considering that cities in California and New York are banning natural gas hookups in new construction (sale of existing to follow) and the United Kingdom has decommissioned their land based gas wells. Did they plug them with concrete like they said they would, or not? Well anyway, it doesn’t look like the United States is on course to develop any recoverable reserves any time soon.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Steve Case
April 13, 2022 7:12 am

Filling pipes with concrete does not erase what is under the ground.
Besides for that, I wonder how hard it is to drill the concrete out of wells?
Is that concrete harder than solid rock?

Don
April 12, 2022 4:01 pm

We need the NG for America first, to keep it cheap for consumers and industry alike. That would give us a huge advantage in industries that use a lot of NG such as steel, aluminum, and chemicals. After we assure that then we can export.

We also have huge reserves of NG hydrates and once we figure out how to utilize that we will be in an even better situation.

You also forgot one place with lots of gas, Washington, D.C.

April 12, 2022 4:33 pm

Top 10# Country Gas Reserves (MMcf) World Share

1 Russia 1,688,228,000 24.3%
2 Iran 1,201,382,000 17.3%
3 Qatar 871,585,000 12.5%
4 United States 368,704,000 5.3%
5 Saudi Arabia 294,205,000 4.2%
6 Turkmenistan 265,000,000 3.8%
7 United Arab Emirates 15,098,000 3.1%
8 Venezuela 197,087,000 2.8%
9 Nigeria 180,490,000 2.6%
10 China 163,959,000 2.4%1

Don
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 12, 2022 5:51 pm

Those US numbers are way too low, the USGS is a decade-plus behind the times with their numbers on oil and NG reserves.

ATheoK
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 12, 2022 5:51 pm

Doesn’t match the map in the article above, the original blog post, or Rud’s comments.

In short, your list is misinformation and wrong!

AndyHce
Reply to  ATheoK
April 12, 2022 6:52 pm

Also, some of the numbers are inconsistent.

Last edited 2 months ago by AndyHce
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Andy May
April 13, 2022 7:33 am

Although we may recently have found reasons to be skeptical of such a view, I have always thought that we will never know less than we know now, and our technical abilities will never actually diminish.
Given such a paradigm, we can logically extrapolate that in the future we will have information we do not currently have and have technical prowess we do not presently possess.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 12, 2022 6:49 pm

You are using ‘proven reserves’. Probably not the best ‘reserves’ definition (of several) for purposes of this discussion.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 13, 2022 7:28 am

I personally like to think in terms of resources, terms such as “estimated resource in place”, “probable resource in place”, “known resource in place”, etc.

In other words, self explanatory descriptions of what is known to be under the ground, what we think may be there vs what we know for sure is there, and what may possibly be there when we extrapolate to account for our limited explorations to date.

Such numbers are large compared to what has been proven to be recoverable at present prices and using presently available technology.

When we use these sorts of metrics, we are removing technical and economic considerations from purely factual and objective information.
One reason to do so is if one has the opinion that the ability of people to find new ways to do things and to get what we need is open ended.

CD in Wisconsin
April 12, 2022 5:00 pm

If there is any hope of getting government out of the way of exploiting the full potential of U.S. NATGAS supplies, there are two things that need to happen:

1) It has to be shown to the American people that the CAGW climate scare narrative is scientifically faulty and should not be a basis for this country’s (or any country’s) energy policy. I was hoping Trump would do that, but he didn’t.

2) The American people also need to be widely shown that wind turbines, solar panels and EVs are not feasible replacements for electricity generation and transportation (respectively). Feasibility studies that demonstrate this are the bane of the environmentalists, and those studies need to be widely known and read in Washington and around the country.

The political clout of the environmental movement and the fear of standing up to them with sound science and the facts is at the root of this, as is the Left’s alliance with the eco-movement. With the CAGW narrative and the wind and solar myth providing confirmation bias for the Left’s ideological worldview, getting past them is a daunting task.

Orwellian Big Brother lives.

griff
April 13, 2022 12:56 am

So ditch the coal right away…

Derg
Reply to  griff
April 13, 2022 3:58 am

Ditch your brain right away.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Derg
April 13, 2022 7:55 am

I think that ship for griff has long since set sail.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
April 14, 2022 9:01 am

A lot of utilities did reduce coal based on decade long low prices of natural gas. Now the ship is turning and the rate increases on households have begun. This is will add to other inflation woes with a compounding effect. It’s a replay of the cheap oil of the 1960s turning into oil shocks in the 70s and early 80s with decadal scale distortions built up.

Mark Ingraham
April 13, 2022 1:14 am

Remember, five percent of world land area goes to mining.

20 trillion tons of iron exist to a depth of a meter. 1% is in rich countries which goes to iron reserves.

The mesabi range is a thousand square miles and produces ten million tons on a global production of billions. Scaling that up, a million square miles of land goes to mining.

Then multiply that by other resources and five percent of the worlds land goes to mining. Even if resources are unlimited you still die that way. Australia is collapsing from mine pollution.

jeff corbin
April 13, 2022 6:36 am

Yeah!… finally a great post on US NG reserves. It would be good to have some idea of the magnitude of the reserve in terms of US and global consumption. Since the hydrocarbon markets; coal, Oil and NG compete with each other and in many cases but owned by the same energy companies; it’s more than politics. Right now CNG is half the price of gasoline. The markets are politicized due to a complex grid regulation, which the industry operates under. The regulatory grid has it’s political nexus in the global collusion of the global hydrocarbon markets. The vigor of this dynamic is clearly shown the geopolitical conflict about who will control the energy markets of Central, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Asia for which war in Europe has been underway since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014 as part of that dynamic. When it became clear to Putin that USA, Brazil, Canada had has way too much NG (2004-2008),Putin sought to close off he black sea to LNG ports. Currently, there are no LNG ports in the Black Sea. This is when the climate change propaganda industry exploded in the USA and globally. Remember “global warming” as an operative word became obsolete after pause in the warming trend after minimum of the 23 solar cycle. And entirely new platform for propaganda unfolded with “climate change” and it wasn’t just Self Righteous Liberal Green meanies who were propelling it

Don’t forget the Brazilian NG. Prior to the 2010 Air France Flight 447 with Brazilian Energy Officials, Devon LNG experts, French officials and Peugeot CNG car experts, dropped out of the sky 1/6/2009, Brazil was touted to have a giant reservoir of NG off shore in shallow water. Yet today they are only 28th in LNG exports. Not sure why and it is very difficult to find good information of the extent of their NG reservoir. We do know that Putin has Brazil in his pocket.

jeff corbin
Reply to  jeff corbin
April 13, 2022 6:54 am

Given the current geopolitical dynamic propelling potential global conflict over hydrocarbon markets, and the power to propel the industrialization and consumerization of Central Asia, which will undoubtedly be fueled by Russian and Iranian NG and OIL…not nukes, maybe it’s time to partition US hydrocarbon markets for indigenous use on one side and for export on the other, while closing the doors on hydrocarbon importation This would pull the US fuel market out of the current colluded quagmire force competition in local energy markets in the USA. Globalism is a dead duck under the Spector of global war. Who can compete with Putin without massive war? This would require major antitrust push that will not happen… but it is an idea.. While at the same time, rapidly building a modern NG infrastructure that will propel a re-industrialization of a ultra-modern manufacturing capacity so that what is exported are manufactured goods not fuel. Since Putin already beat us out of Central Asia and will likely shudder Eastern Europe with the threat of global war, why not focus on providing exclusive partitioned energy deals to Africa and provide the impetus for industrialization and consumerization of the lower continent.

jeff corbin
April 13, 2022 7:49 am

comment image

At least in Minnesota electricity is at least twice as expensive as NG.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  jeff corbin
April 13, 2022 8:25 am

Thermodynamics alone says that burning nat gas to make electricity, transmitting that power to a home, and converting it back to heat, will always be a waste of energy compared to burning the nat gas inside the space to be heated.

jeff corbin
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 14, 2022 1:44 pm

Thanks Nicholas, makes sense it has always been far cheaper heat with NG or oil than electricity I assume this principle also applies to EV’s? Electric motors and batteries can’t be that efficient. It also make sense to burn NG to make electricity in my own home and side step the grid…. if there was a good battery but none yet exists.

Neo
April 13, 2022 9:32 am

I sometimes get the feeling that the reason for not developing the Marcellus Shale reservoirs in New York has more to do with allowing the properties to be bought up on the cheap so they can be exploited for top dollar some time in the future.

Andy Pattullo
April 13, 2022 10:00 am

As a Canadian and an Albertan I am distressed not to see a giant red dot over our neck of the woods. Are we really not in the running? A blow to my ego.

Matthew Schilling
April 13, 2022 11:17 am

America is a Hydrocarbon Hyperpower, which is just one more reason for criminally insane Globalist-Malthusians to hate us with the intensity of a thousand suns.

TheLastDemocrat
April 15, 2022 2:53 pm

Reading that the Ukraine Russia war would mean a lot of starvation in Africa, it occurred to me:
This is the new Colonization.

In the heydays of European colonization of much of the world, it worked like this.

A country would go in and take over the land and natural resources, and pull the rug out from under the locals. The hungry locals would be happy to then work, at very modest pay, for those controlling production.

Now, Big Business teams up with Big Government to severely limit local production of various resources: oil and gas, wheat, etc.

I am in the Gulf Coast – why do we get shrimp from Vietnam?

When the commodities are not produced locally, but by international business, we are victim of shortages and price hikes when international politics go one way or another.

I grew up knowing that we here in the Gulf coast produced oil, but thinking that we were far outproduced by OPEC. Why else would we fall victim to OPEC?

To allow politicians to benefit from international business deals and international politics.

Pelosi and husband own tuna processing in Samoa, etc. Hilary’s brother bought gold mining rights in Haiti.

Right now, “we” could be helping Haiti by consulting with them to build a Gold industry. But no – we are in there allowing the Haitians to work for us, for very modest wage, and enriching Clintons.

aaron
April 17, 2022 2:46 pm

#AntiFragileEnergy #GreenNUCLEARDeal #HighlyFlexibleNaturalGas #IncineratePlasticPollution #WasteToEnergy

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