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USGS releases new estimates of reserve growth for US conventional oil and gas

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new estimate—based on a new methodology—for potential additions to domestic oil and gas reserves from reserve growth in discovered, conventional accumulations in the United States. The USGS estimates that the mean potential undiscovered, conventional reserve additions for the United States total 32 billion barrels (bb) of oil, 291 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, and 10 bb of natural gas liquids, constituting about 10% of the overall US oil and gas endowment.

These volumes represent an estimate of the potential future growth of current US reserve estimates over time based on current technologies, and greater understanding of current reservoirs, among other advances. For comparison, the current mean USGS estimates for undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil and gas resources from onshore and underlying State waters are 27 bb of oil and 388 tcf of natural gas, respectively.

The new estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas, and do not include reserve growth estimates for Federal offshore areas. Continuous, or unconventional, oil and gas accumulations, such as shale gas, tight gas, and tight oil were removed from the data set for this study. USGS made no attempt to estimate the economic viability of the recoverable oil and gas as part of these future projections.

These estimates were made using a new assessment methodology developed by the USGS.

Reserve growth is the increase in estimated volumes of oil and natural gas that can be recovered from discovered (known) fields and reservoirs through time. Most reserve growth results from delineation of new reservoirs, field extensions, or improved recovery techniques, thereby enhancing efficiency, and recalculation of reserves due to changing economic and operating conditions.

Reserve growth is a component of the overall oil and gas endowment, but is distinct from reserves and from undiscovered, technically recoverable resources—all three important but separate measurements used in efforts by industry and government to make energy decisions based on the best available science.

Unlike past estimates of reserve growth that relied on statistical extrapolations of growth trends, the new USGS assessment is based on detailed analysis of geology and engineering practices used in producing fields. The assessment uses both published and commercial sources of geologic information and field-production data.

USGS released estimates of reserve growth for the world, excluding the United States, in June 2012 totaling 665 bb of oil, 1,429 tcf of natural gas, and 16 bb of natural gas liquids.

USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources and reserve growth of the world, exclusive of the Federal offshore. This US assessment was undertaken as part of a project assessing US petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.



Good news, if pumped to the last drop, it would meet USA's needs for 1600 days or 4.4 years at the current oil consumption rate.

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