Thursday, October 08, 2009

Got Gas?

Yes we have gas. Lots of gas. Lots of natural gas.

Last October, just as the economy was tilting into crisis, a small oil and gas company in Houston quietly announced the discovery of a mammoth natural gas field in South Texas that at any other time might have garnered bigger headlines.

Petrohawk Energy's find, however, did not go unnoticed in the oil and gas industry — and it didn't take long before oil companies large and small began making their moves.

Today, though the economy and natural gas prices remain weak, the Eagle Ford shale remains one of the hottest prospects in North America, and energy companies are moving forward there even as they're pulling back elsewhere.

That's because of what some companies suggest is a virtually recession-proof combination of highly productive wells and low drilling costs they say can yield profits even as natural gas prices hover near seven-year lows.
Just how much gas is there in the new fields using the new methods?
Recently discovered U.S. shale plays, including the Haynesville in Louisiana and Marcellus in Pennsylvania, are expected to provide a major boost to U.S. natural gas supplies in coming years. The dense rock formations, once thought too difficult to explore, have been unlocked with the help of recent advances in drilling technology.

The core areas of the eight largest U.S. shale plays may contain 475 trillion cubic feet of recoverable resources, according to an estimate by Ross Smith Energy Group, an industry research firm in Calgary, Alberta. That's roughly ten times the size of Texas' famed Barnett shale play in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which supplies nearly 10 percent of U.S. natural gas production, excluding Alaska.
That is a lot of gas. But really what does the new gas situation look like from a longer term perspective?
After declining for 15 years, U.S. natural gas production is finally on the rise, thanks to new technological developments that make it possible to draw large amounts of gas from deposits previously thought to be unreachable. An increase in natural gas production of the magnitude many industry insiders predict could do wonders for business, the environment and even U.S. energy independence.

U.S. gas production is up 9% this year – a rate of increase not seen since 1984 – with most of that gain coming from natural-gas shale, particularly the Barnett Shale, a deposit that now produces 7% of the country’s gas supply. Indeed, there could be as much as 842 trillion cubic feet of retrievable gas in shale deposits throughout the United States alone, according to Navigant Consulting. That would support the current level of U.S. consumption for about 40 years.
And that is just from the gas found so far. I have seen estimates that go as high as 100 years for the total amount of gas available with current methods. More than enough time to get fusion or even economical wind/solar/storage going.

And if Thomas Gold's The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels theory is correct we may have much more than 1,000 years of gas and oil available if we can drill deep enough.

Now that would make our transition off fossil fuels very comfortable. Time and a few very deep exploratory wells will tell.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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