There will be ample U.S. natural gas supplies to support a 30 Tcf market by 2010.
Henry R. Linden is the Max McGraw Professor of Energy and Power Engineering and Management, and the Director, Energy + Power Center, at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Recently, we have had a great deal of positive information about the outlook for ample U.S. natural gas supplies to support a much more aggressive marketing effort and greater reliance on natural gas in energy and environmental policy decisions. As shown in Table 1, which updates a similar Table I published in the Nov. 15, 2000 issue of 1, 2000 was a banner year in natural gas reserve replacements, and 2001 promises to be equally good.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) requires a great deal of lead-time to collect the data for its annual report on "U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves." The report for 2000 became available in March 2002, although it has a publication date of December 2001.2 I have made my usual calculations from these and other more recent EIA data3 and, as can be seen, 2000 probably set a record with 131 percent of natural gas reserve replacement. If a new category in the EIA 2000 annual report "Net of Sales and Acquisitions" is added, the reserve replacement increases to 152 percent. A substantial uptick should have been anticipated because the average active gas rig count for 2000 was 720, by far the highest since 1990. Gas well completions of 15,600 in 2000 were the highest since 1984. However, it must be noted that there is no direct correlation between these measures of drilling activity and reserve replacement. As shown in Table 1, since 1990 annual gas wells completed per rig have varied from 20.0 to 27.5, and total additions per well from 1.4 to 2.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf).