Appalachian Basin Drives U.S. Oil & Gas Reserves to Record High

Pennsylvania saw the largest increase in proved natural gas reserves, the federal government reported last week, as total U.S. oil and natural gas reserves surged to record highs in 2017.

U.S. proved oil and natural gas reserves – which refer to the best estimate of oil/gas that can be extracted given current technology and economic environment – have doubled over the past decade, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), as technology and the pricing environment have improved:

“Proved reserves of U.S. crude oil increased 19.5% from the end of 2016, reaching 39.2 billion barrels and surpassing the previous peak level of 39.0 billion barrels set in 1970. Proved reserves of natural gas increased 36.1% from the end of 2016 to reach 464.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2017, surpassing the previous record of 388.8 Tcf set in 2014.

Producers in Pennsylvania added 28.1 Tcf of natural gas proved reserves, the largest net increase of all states in 2017, as a result of increased prices and development of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.

The share of natural gas from shale increased from 62% of total U.S. natural gas proved reserves in 2016 to 66% in 2017.”

The latest estimate demonstrates the enormous long-term potential of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Yet, without the infrastructure to bring gas to market, the region could miss a huge opportunity to deliver economic growth and environmental progress.

Speaking at a recent event, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry emphasized the importance of a robust, reliable infrastructure system. “It is really important for us as a country to have an energy infrastructure plan in place because it is about the national security of this country,” Perry said. “Energy security is national security.”

As the Houston Chronicle reports:

“Today’s consumers have more choices, more information, more say on their energy sources than ever before,” [Sec. Perry] said. “If we’re to seize this amazing moment in American energy, it is imperative we build more energy infrastructure.”


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