Unconventional sources brighten the U.S. supply outlook.
Henry R. Linden is Max McGraw Professor of Energy and Power and Engineering and Management Director, Energy + Power Center. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Ivan Coutinho, a chemical engineering graduate student at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in this study, and the financial support of IIT’s Chemical and Biological Department.
The future of natural gas supplies in the United States looks promising due to rising projections of recoverable resources, including unconventional production. A strong supply outlook bodes well for using natural gas as a low-emission transportation fuel.
This article deals with the vastly improved outlook for U.S. natural gas supply as a result of sharp increases in recent projections of the total of proved reserves and unproved technically recoverable resources, as well as of unconventional naural gas production. On this basis, the article’s original draft concluded that natural gas prices would remain in the $7.00 to $7.50/million Btu range. In fact, New York Mercantile Exchange natural gas futures dropped into the $5.00 to $6.00/million Btu range in mid-November 2008 and remained in this range throughout December 2008 and the first half of January 2009, while the two benchmark crude oil prices—West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent—dropped to roughly $37 to $46 per barrel, their lowest level in the past four years.