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US raises gas, oil estimates along US Gulf coast

13 Apr 2017, 8.33 pm GMT

US raises gas, oil estimates along US Gulf coast

Washington, 13 April (Argus) — Two geologic formations along the US Gulf coastline may contain 304 Tcf (8.6 trillion m3) of technically recoverable natural gas, or four times more than previously thought, according to a new government study.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) study, published today, could spur further interest in oil and gas development of the Bossier and Haynesville formations. The prolific Marcellus and Utica shales in the northeast US, in comparison, holds a combined 122 Tcf of technically recoverable natural gas, according to 2011 and 2012 studies from the USGS.

Today's study also estimates the Bossier and Haynesville formations hold 4bn bl of technically recoverable oil and 1.9bn bl of NGLs.

The Bossier and Haynesville stretch hundreds of miles from the Texas-Mexico border to western Florida. The formations extend as far north as Arkansas and continues into waters close to the shoreline. The Haynesville region is already highly developed and accounts for about 6.2 Bcf/d in gas production, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

The USGS in 2010 had estimated the Bossier formation held 9 Tcf of technically recoverable gas and the Haynesville held 61 Tcf. Today's study estimates the [Bossier]( holds 109 Tcf of gas, about 12 times higher than before, while the Haynesville holds 196 Tcf of gas. The estimate increase is due in part to technical advancements in hydraulic fracturing over the past seven years.

"We continually find that technological revolutions of the past few years have truly been a game-changer in the amount of resources that are now technically recoverable," USGS energy resources program coordinator Walter Guidroz said.

About 25pc of the natural gas and all of the assessed oil resources are located in conventional formations, according the study. The remaining resources, representing more than 225 Tcf of natural gas, are dispersed across the geologic formations and would likely require techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract.

President Donald Trump's administration is trying to encourage oil and natural gas development by removing environmental regulations and streamlining permitting. US interior secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees USGS, said the results of the survey were "HUGE!" in a post on Twitter.


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