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U.S. may have less recoverable shale gas than previously estimated

September 5, 2011

MIT‘s  Technology Review has an article on their website reporting that the U.S. Geological Survey‘s estimates of recoverable shale gas in the Marcellus shale formation is 80% lower than an earlier estimate this year by the Energy Information Administration, a wing of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The formation is beneath Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, roughly the area of the first oil rush in the U.S., in the early 19th century.

The Technology Review article states that different estimation methodologies by the two organizations accounts for the discrepancy, and that either figure (84 trillion cubic feet from the USGS, 400 trillion cubic feet in the EIA’s estimate) still represents a sufficient amount of technically recoverable gas  to meet projected demands.

Horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing have led to an increase in the production of shale gas (the EIA’s report stated that the production of shale gas grew 17% annually between 2000 and 2006, then jumped to an annual 48% increase between 2006 and 2010).

Here’s the USGS’s press release.

Here’s a link to further information from the USGS on the Marcellus formation.

Here’s a link to the EIA’s report

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One Comment leave one →
  1. The Emperor permalink
    September 5, 2011 4:37 pm

    Either they are trying to reduce their dependance on foreing oil, or just trying keep the price per barrel lower to counter Opec’s.

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