Exponential Growth of Natural Gas Contained in Appalachian Basin, USGS Report

Report confirms long-term opportunity to develop clean, affordable natural gas.

Estimates of natural gas held in the Appalachian Basin have sharply increased from 2 Tcf in 2002 to 214 Tcf today, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s updated analysis.

This significant increase from previous projections in 2011 and 2012, which estimated 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus and 38 trillion in the Utica, can be attributed to advancements in drilling technology and geological knowledge gained over the past several years.

“Watching our estimates for the Marcellus rise from 2 trillion to 84 trillion to 97 trillion in under 20 years demonstrates the effects American ingenuity and new technology can have,” said USGS Director Jim Reilly. “Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring our nation’s energy independence.”

USGS’ report confirms the long-term development opportunity for the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and comes on the heels of another report from the Potential Gas Committee which concludes the United States has a record future supply of natural gas. In fact, PGC’s analysis confirms the Appalachian Basin as the country’s richest resource area with 41% of the total asset base and accounting for the largest volumetric gains since previous reports.

Speaking to the long-term development opportunity, MSC’s Dave Spiglemyer credited abundant, affordable natural gas for driving broad economic growth and environmental gains.

“Thanks to shale and production from Appalachia, the U.S. has rapidly transformed from a nation increasingly reliant on energy imports to the global leader in natural gas production. This positive shift in America’s energy outlook continues to drive meaningful economic and environmental progress while boosting national security. While the U.S. is blessed with a generational supply of clean, affordable energy, unrealistic energy policies to ban development or block critical pipeline infrastructure hurt jobs, burden consumers and stall significant environmental gains.”