Is there really 100 years’ worth of natural gas beneath the United States?
By Chris Nelder|Posted Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at 6:37 AM ET
A shale-gas drilling rig
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
The recent press about the potential of shale gas would have you believe that America is now sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. It's a "game-changer." A "golden age of gas" awaits, one in which the United States will be energy independent, even exporting gas to the rest of the world, upending our current energy-importing situation.
The data, however, tell a very different story. Between the demonstrable gas reserves, and the potential resources blared in the headlines, lies an enormous gulf of uncertainty.
The claim of a 100-year supply originated with a report released in April 2011 by the Potential Gas Committee, an organization of petroleum engineers and geoscientists.President and Chairman Larry Gring works with Third Day Energy LLC, a company based in Austin, Texas, that is engaged in acquiring and exploiting oil and gas properties along the Texas Gulf Coast.* Chairman of the Board Darrell Pierce is a vice president of DCP Midstream LLC, a natural-gas production, processing, and marketing company based in Denver. The report's contributors are from the industry-supported Colorado School of Mines. In short, the Potential Gas Committee report is not an impartial assessment of resources.