The estimated natural gas resource base in the United States has reached an all-time high, the American Gas Association (AGA) reported Tuesday.

During a virtual AGA event, the Potential Gas Committee (PGC) stated that its year-end 2020 technically recoverable gas resource estimate — that is, in the ground but not yet recovered — totals 3,368 Tcf. 

The technically recoverable estimate comprises 3,212 Tcf of potentially recoverable gas from “traditional” reservoirs — conventional, tight sands, carbonates and shales — and 157 Tcf in coalbed gas reservoirs, AGA explained. 

Combining  the technically recoverable estimate with recovered gas brings the PGC’s total gas figure — resources plus reserves — to a record 3,863 Tcf, AGA noted. Compared to PGC’s previous assessment, the latest total represents a relatively slight 25 Tcf increase from the 3,838 Tcf estimate for year-end 2018.

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“This report affirms that Americans will have the clean natural gas that they need now and well into the future,” said AGA’s Richard Meyer, vice president for energy markets, analysis and standards. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily slowed drilling activity, but the United States continues robust natural gas production relative to history.”

The 80-strong PGC comprises highly experienced volunteers who work in the natural gas exploration, production, transportation and distribution industries and the technical services and consulting sectors, noted AGA. The organization added the PGC biennial assessment stands out as the most comprehensive report of U.S. potential future natural gas supplies.

“Our total gas account as a measure of future supplies is as high as ever and, with supportive policies in place to ensure reliable supply, this vast energy resource is available to meet our energy needs and to support U.S. and global commitments to lowering emissions,” said Meyer.

On a region-by-region basis, the PGC found the Atlantic Area holds the largest share of total U.S. gas resources: 39%. Other significant regional sources of potential future supply include the Midcontinent (18%), the Rocky Mountains (17%) and the Gulf Coast (including Gulf of Mexico) (16%), AGA stated.

AGA observed that changes in the total resource assessment from year-end 2018 to year-end 2020 stem primarily from the evaluation of recent drilling, well tests and subsequent production data from the Atlantic, Mid-Continent, Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast regions.