Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marcellus Shale gas overestimated by 80 percent

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it will cut its estimate of the total natural gas in the Marcellus Shale by 80 percent to match the U.S. Geological Survey estimate, according to The New York Times.  "They’re geologists; we’re not," an EIA analyst said, rather sheepishly.

To be sure, 84 million cubic feet is still a lot of natural gas, but that USGS estimate itself is generous, because it counts all the gas that's "technically recoverable," meaning using every iota of extraction technology available on the planet.  How much of that would be economically feasible, even amid boom natural-gas prices, is another story.

That supposedly scientific estimates of Eastern gas reserves seem to vary so wildly, depending on who's making the estimate and what's being counted and what time of day it is and whether you hold your mouth just right, is deeply troubling.  I agree with Bill Powers, publisher of Powers Energy Investor:
If the country is going to embrace natural gas as the fuel of the future, there needs to be a lot more transparency in how these estimates are calculated and a more skeptical and informed discussion about the economics of shale gas.
(Thanks to Dale Sams for passing this along.)

1 comment:

Lex Alexander said...

"There needs to be a lot more transparency."