Feb 17, 2012 – 12:48 PM ET
Unconventional U.S. oil and gas change everything
Afunny thing is happening on the way to the clean energy future — reality is setting in. There is incontrovertible evidence about the economic growth and job creating effects of America’s unconventional oil and gas production boom – more than 600,000 jobs directly attributable to shale gas development. Even President Barack Obama is praising the job-creating benefits of ‘America’s resource boom’. America is getting its energy mojo back and that is good news, but not the entire story.
How much shale gas is there in the United States? In July 2011 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays produced by INTEK. This is an updated assessment of onshore lower 48 states technically recoverable shale gas and shale oil resources. The assessment found the lower 48 states have a total 750 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources with the largest portions in the Northeast (63%), Gulf Coast (13%), and Southwest regions (10%) respectively. Total U.S. recoverable natural gas resources (includes conventional, unconventional in lower 48, Alaska and offshore) totals 4.244 quadrillion cubic feet according to the Institute for Energy Research: Enough natural gas to meet U.S. electricity demand for 575 years at current levels of fuel demand for generation. Enough natural gas to fuel homes heated by natural gas in the United States for 857 years. More natural gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan combined.