A close look at the status of the nation’s gas resources lastyear reveals a lethargic industry barely able to build reserves.However, last year was an improvement over the year prior. Dry gasreserve additions reversed the 2% decline in 1998 and grew lastyear by 2.1% to 167,406 Bcf in the United States, according to anAdvance Summary: U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Natural GasLiquids Reserves 1999 Annual Report by the Energy InformationAdministration. Reserve additions replaced 118% of gas production.It was the fifth time in the past six years that reserves havegrown.

However, reserve additions in 1999 were higher because the netof revisions and accounting adjustments to reserves (11,486 Bcf)was more than twice as high as in 1998 and 70% higher than theprior 10-year average.

While gas prices were up 7% last year to $2.08/Mcf, provedreserves in the Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore declined eventhough deepwater reserves were up substantially as was production,EIA said in its report. For the fields in the shallow areas of theGulf (less than 200 meters deep) reserves declined 5% andproduction dropped 9%.

Total discoveries declined last year to 10,807 Bcf. New fielddiscoveries were 1,568 Bcf slightly more than the prior 10-yearaverage. Field extensions were 7,043 Bcf, down from 1998 but nearthe 10-year average. New reservoir discoveries in oil fields added2,196 Bcf, which was about the same as the year prior but 6% lessthan the 10-year average.

Coal-bed methane reserves continued to make rapid gains lastyear in contrast to conventional resources. Coal-bed reserves grew8% to 13,229 Bcf and accounted for 7% (1,252 Bcf) of total dry gasproduction.

Meanwhile crude oil reserves rebounded from their unusuallylarge decline in 1998 by growing 3.5% to 21,765 million bbl.Natural gas liquids reserves increased 5.1% last year to 7,906million bbl.

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