Marcellus Shale Gas Estimates Cut 80 Percent


Running on emptyish?

The Energy Information Administration has been estimating that the Marcellus shale located in the mid-Atlantic states might hold as much 410 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The U.S. Geological Survey has just released its new estimate—84 trillion cubic feet—that's 80 percent less than the EIA estimate. However, that's up considerably over the agency's earlier estimate. As the USGS press release notes:

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCF) and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

The increase in undiscovered, technically recoverable resource is due to new geologic information and engineering data, as technological developments in producing unconventional resources have been significant in the last decade.  This Marcellus Shale estimate is of unconventional (or continuous-type) gas resources.

The EIA has estimated that total U.S. natural gas reserves at 2,600 trillion cubic feet which, if true, implies that there is about 110-year supply of gas at the current rate of 23 trillion cubic feet annually. The new USGS figures cut the estimated reserves to just under 2,300 trillion cubic feet, which roughly suggests an 98-year supply of gas. The EIA is adjusting its Marcellus shale figures in line with the new USGS estimates. This is still far away from "peak natural gas." 

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  1. Far away from peak Obama too.

    1. “Have we won in the U.S. yet?”

      Sorry, Tim — couldn’t resist.

      Boone Pickens has said he basically has no confidence in USGS estimates.

  2. If you can keep your buildings standing that long.

    Fracking could have caused East Coast earthquake…..c-817-061/

    1. The tooth fairy could have caused it too. Or maybe the six times in ten thousand year event happened. It has to happen someone. It is six times in ten thousand years not no times.

      1. Earthquakes in Arkansas May Be Man-Made, Experts Warn
        By Alec Liu & Jeremy A. Kaplan
        Published March 01, 2011…..erts-warn/

        1. And since it confirms your own biases, it must be true.

          1. Weird, I thought the article said “may,” confirming nothing but your bias.

            Luckily, in your vein of thinking, “may cause cancer” means we can keep smoking until it’s confirmed with our death.

            In the long run we are all dead. ~John Maynard Keynes

            Libertarian Cornucopians are the Keynesians of Technology. Fiat Complexity shall always rule!

            Until the law of diminishing returns catches up witcha.

        2. Please, the earthquake was God punishing us for the gey marriage.

          1. I’m pretty sure earthquakes are a result of Climate Change.

            1. Indeed. How could it be otherwise?

        3. Earthquakes in Arkansas May Be Man-Made, Experts Warn

          Remember, folks, there is no difference between saying “may” and “may or may not”. Anytime an “expert” says “X may have been caused by Y”, he is actually saying “X may or may not have been caused by Y”.

          Which, somehow, doesn’t carry the same urgency to Do Something About It!

          1. “May” simply is an honest accounting of some evidence for something, but not conclusive evidence. Smoking may cause cancer. Go ahead, smoke if you think smoking that medical science is equivocating that smoking may not cause cancer.

            Steve Horton, an earthquake specialist at the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), is worried by a correlation between the Arkansas earthquake swarm and a side effect of the drilling: the disposal of wastewater in injection wells.

            “Ninety percent of these earthquakes that have happened since 2009 have been within 6 kilometers of these salt water disposal wells,” he told The timing is too coincidental to ignore, Horton said.

            Read more:…..erts-warn/

    2. Strange how libertarian economists, who probably have heard faint musings regarding the law of diminishing returns, have never applied that law to complexity and technology.

      And thus, energy, as well as the Prisoner’s Dilemma that forces complex societies into a positive feedback loop of increasing investment in complexity, that societies are often compelled to make every investment into complexity that they are capable of making…”

      Thesis #14: Complexity is subject to diminishing returns.
      Thesis #15: We have passed the point of diminishing returns.

      1. LoDR: May I direct you to my article, The Law of Increasing Returns”? [PDF] It discusses the insights from New Growth Economics. My conclusion:

        We cannot deplete the supply of ideas, designs and recipes. They are immaterial and limitless, and therefore not bound in any meaningful sense by the second law of thermodynamics. Surely no one believes that humanity has already devised all of the methods to conserve, locate and exploit new sources of energy, or that the flow of ideas to improve houses, transportation, communications, medicine and farming has suddenly dried up. Though far too many of our fellow human beings are caught in local versions of the Malthusian trap, we must not mistake the situation of that segment as representing the future of all of humanity and the earth itself; it is, instead, a dwindling remnant of an unhappy past. Misery is not the inevitable lot of humanity, nor is the ruin of the natural world a foregone conclusion.

        1. We cannot deplete the supply of ideas, designs and recipes.

          People, if they keep growing in population and consuming at present rate, will take in every single atom in the universe and turn it into human protoplasm in roughly 4000 years. That’s less than half the time civilization has been around?

          Got any ideas, designs, or recipes about that?

          1. People, if they keep growing in population and consuming at present rate, will take in every single atom in the universe and turn it into human protoplasm in roughly 4000 years.

            [citation needed]

            1. Do the math yourself, because you’ll never believe any citation.

              I’ll simplify your figuring for you.

              Human population is growing at 1.4%. Rule of 72 says that doubles every 50 years.

              Take the mass of humanity, take the mass of the universe, and sharpen your pencil. It comes out to about 4000 years for me.

              Just like Bernanke can’t figure it out with fiat finance, Cornucopians can’t figure it out with fiat culture. Constant growth is always an impossibility in a finite universe. And there is less room than you’d think when growth (or paper money supply) multiplies at a constant figure.

              1. “Human population is growing at 1.4%.”

                No, you idiot. Population growth falls with increased wealth, which is why its falling in the west. Where the fuck have you been?

                1. Reason #1432 why primitive societies stagnated: They never grasped calculus.

          2. “People, if they keep growing in population and consuming at present rate”

            Dumbass. Current population growth trends are slated to peak at 9 billion and then start falling, meaning it would take trillions of years to consume every atom.

      2. That is strange.
        Wait. No it isn’t.
        You’re fucking crazy.

      3. that site is classic malthusian BS. Start with the conclusion that population grows to the limit of its food supply, then proceed from there.

        1. Why do you have a problem with Malthus? Does reality put a kink in your poodle fantasies?

          There are hard limits to growth, and those limits are upon us. This is the contention of Charles A. S. Hall and John W. Day, Jr., two systems ecologists who have published a paper in American Scientist.

          Malthus was Right

          1. No, Malthus was a fool. If population grows to the limit of a society’s food supply, then why are most first world nations experiencing population declines? It certainly cant be from a lack of food.

            Reality doesnt put a kink in my poodle fantasies, whatever that is, reality informs me that your mathusian presumptions must be wrong, because reality isnt working out the way Malthus would have predicted.

            1. “then why are most first world nations experiencing population declines?”

              Because parents started noticing their children were growing up to be like White Indian, so they decided to stop reproducing.

          2. Uh, Malthus thought the richer people got, the more children they’d have. The opposite is true, a fact everybody except you is aware of.

    3. I liked how that article kept talking about “some experts” without naming a single one. If “some experts” want to express their opinion, maybe they should have the courage of their beliefs and state their name and qualifications for being considered an expert.

      1. “Some people say.”

        The article is like an alcoholic who just found another excuse, like an article in WaPo on drinking red wine, to keep his binge-drinking going.

        P.S. If you want all the benefits of drinking red wine, and none of the bad effects of alcohol, eat grape skin. It’s no good excuse to imbibe.

        Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes…

  3. There is no frac’ing anywere near the epicenter.

    Also, the USGS is very conservative in these estimates. I have worked for them, and now work for an enegery company in PA. The USGS will be increaseing there estimate again in a couple of years. The marcellus is the real deal.

    1. Who says fracking has to be over the epicenter?

  4. OK wow that makes a whole lot of sense dude. WOw.

    1. Does Marcellus Shale look like a bitch to you?

  5. This reminds me, I have to send a New Years card to my old professor who warned us that the would would run out of oil by 2008, 2012 at the latest.

  6. The EIA and USGS have overestimated the amount of economically recoverable shale gas. Even though the best formations in the most promising areas were developed the producers can’t make any money as a group. Their EUR and depletion assumptions are way off and can be used to manipulate expectations of naive investors. Add to this the SEC rules that allow the big producers who have reserve decline issues to hide them by acquiring shale properties and you have a broken price signal for reserves that can only end very badly.

    1. So are the EIA/USGS incompetent or lying? If lying, what is their motivation?

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