Will unconventional gas assure plentiful supplies?
Lee Van Atta is vice president of fuels markets for the advisory services team at Ventyx. Email him at Lee.VanAtta@ventyx.com.
Over the past two years, expectations for U.S. domestic natural gas production have changed radically. A range of industry and government studies now are projecting that U.S. natural gas resources are far larger than previously realized, thanks to advances in unconventional gas production; particularly for natural gas production from shale rock formations using advanced drilling techniques. At the moment, the United States is experiencing a glut of natural gas with record underground gas storage inventories and prices around $4/MMBtu, which serves to underscore the new thinking about U.S. natural gas supply—i.e., future gas supplies might be less constrained than earlier studies suggested they would.
Given the speed with which the expectations for U.S. natural gas have changed, it’s reasonable to ask how solid is this new thinking about U.S. natural gas supply and what should the role of natural gas be in meeting our long-term energy needs in a carbon-constrained economy?