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Assessment ranks eastern U.S. No. 1 for natural gas

By , - Last modified: April 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

The Potential Gas Committee at the Colorado School of Mines has doubled its estimate of the amount of recoverable natural gas in the eastern United States.

Thanks primarily to new assessments of Marcellus Shale reserves, the committee raised its estimate of recoverable gas in what it terms the "Atlantic" region from 353.6 trillion cubic feet in 2010 to 741.3 trillion cubic feet, not including coalbed gas resources.

That vaults the Atlantic region past the Gulf Coast and makes it the U.S.'s No. 1 natural-gas area.

In all, the committee estimated total U.S. potential gas resources at 2,384 trillion cubic feet, up 25.6 percent from 1,898 trillion cubic feet in 2010. Adding in proved gas reserves yields a total of 2,689 trillion cubic feet of future U.S. gas supply, the committee said.

New exploration and drilling technologies are allowing access to reserves that until recently "were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue," John Curtis, director of the Colorado School of Mines' Potential Gas Agency, said in a statement.

Shale gas now accounts for about 48 percent of the country's potential non-coalbed gas resources, attesting to its importance, the committee said.

The agency advises the committee, which has made its assessments every two years since the 1960s.

"Our knowledge of the geological endowment of technically recoverable gas continues to improve with each assessment," Curtis said.

The 2012 report "demonstrates an exceptionally strong and optimistic gas supply picture for the nation," he said.

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