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April 06, 2011

Global shale gas boosts total recoverable natural gas resources by 40%

A new EIA-sponsored study reported initial assessments of 5,760 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable shale gas resources in 32 foreign countries, compared with 862 Tcf in the United States. Technically recoverable natural gas resources in the assessed basins totaled 5,760 Tcf. Adding the estimated U.S. shale gas technically recoverable resources (862 Tcf) to the assessments in the study gives a total of 6,622 Tcf. For comparison, most current estimates of world technically recoverable natural gas resources include few if any of the resources assessed in this study and total about 16,000 Tcf. Adding identified shale gas resources to current estimates of other gas resources increases total world technically recoverable resources by over 40 percent, to more than 22,000 trillion cubic feet.

In terms of recoverable shale gas resources, China takes the top spot, with an estimated 1,275 Tcf. The US is second, with 862 Tcf, followed by Argentina with 774 Tcf and Mexico with 681 Tcf.


The growing importance of US shale gas resources is also reflected in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (AEO2011) energy projections, with technically recoverable US shale gas resources now estimated at 862 trillion cubic feet. Given a total natural gas resource base of 2,543 trillion cubic feet in the AEO2011 Reference case, shale gas resources constitute 34% of the domestic natural gas resource base represented in the AEO2011 projections and 50% of lower 48 onshore resources. As a result, shale gas is the largest contributor to the projected growth in production, and by 2035 shale gas production accounts for 46% of US natural gas production.

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