An analysis of resources in 171 geologic provinces, including Canada and Mexico and several Arctic provinces — but excluding the United States — found that the world holds an estimated 5,606 Tcf of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional natural gas, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report.
The USGS also reported that beyond the United States, there is an estimated 167 billion bbl of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids (NGL) and 565 billion bbl of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil.
The USGS assessment represents technically recoverable resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations. This assessment does not include the reserve base that already has been discovered, is well-defined and considered economically viable. It also does not include unconventional oil and gas resources.
The study included 313 assessment units, significantly more than the 246 included in USGS’s last World Petroleum Assessment, which was completed in 2000. At that time USGS estimated 4,669 Tcf of gas, 207 billion bbl of NGL and 649 billion bbl of oil in 128 geologic provinces.
While the assessment does not include the United States, the USGS continuously assesses domestic resources. Recent domestic assessments by USGS estimated approximately 84 Tcf of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion bbl of undiscovered, technically recoverable NGL in the Marcellus Shale (see Daily GPI, Aug. 29, 2011; Aug. 24, 2011), and 19 Tcf of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas, 600 million bbl of oil and 46 million bbl of NGL in Alaska’s Cook Inlet region (see Daily GPI, June 30, 2011).
In 2008 a USGS official said there was an estimated 1,075 Tcf of technically recoverable natural gas resources in the United States, along with 126.6 billion bbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil resources (see Daily GPI, July 17, 2008).
The new USGS assessment found that about 75% of the world’s non-U.S. undiscovered technically recoverable conventional oil is in South America and the Caribbean (126 billion bbl), sub-Saharan Africa (115 billion bbl), the Middle East and North Africa (111 billion bbl), as well as the Arctic provinces portion of North America (61 billion bbl).
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