Estimates Clash for How Much Natural Gas in the United States
As U.S. policymakers contemplate a new era as the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” a new government analysis slashes estimates for unproved shale gas reserves.
But just how much natural gas does the United States have?
A close look at the assessments shows that even the experts disagree. Most dramatically, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the government's own analytical team, last month slashed in half its estimate for a key and large subset of reserves: the amount of gas in shale rock formations across the country.
(Photos: "The Science of Shale Gas" and "In the Farmland, An Energy Rush")
Although the government's new estimate for total U.S. natural gas resources—2,214 trillion cubic feet (tcf)—is a third higher than its 2008 estimate, the shale gas markdown underscores the uncertainties around this new supply source. In an interview with National Geographic News, the EIA has offered a sneak