free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 404. 100 YEARS OF NATURAL GAS

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Rigzone reports some very important news:

The amount of natural gas available for production in the United States has soared 58% in the past four years, driven by a drilling boom and the discovery of huge new gas fields in Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, a new study says.

The report, due to be released Thursday by the nonprofit Potential Gas Committee, concludes the U.S. has more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still in the ground, or nearly a century's worth of production at current rates. That's a 35.4% jump over the committee's last estimate, in 2007, of 1,532 trillion cubic feet, the biggest increase in the committee's 44-year history.

Boone Pickens puts that volume in perspective:
The 2,074 trillion cubic feet of domestic natural gas reserves cited in the study is the equivalent of nearly 350 billion barrels of oil, about the same as Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.
For those who aren't up on the history: this is a case where the "peak oil community" has egg on its face about an inch thick. In Aug. 2003, Matt Simmons stated that natural gas armageddon for the US was a certainty within 2 years. Now, here we are 4 years later, swimming in veritable seas of the shit. Read the history, folks. The man is a stooge.

While we're at it, let's also recall that the entire "peak oil community" bought into the "natural gas crisis" hook line and sinker:

Matt Simmons, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, mobjectivist, Julian Darley, Culture Change,, LATOC, Post Carbon Institute, Energy Bulletin, The Oil Drum etc. etc.

And the crisis never came. In fact, the result was exactly the opposite of that predicted.

This huge surge in NG supplies is very important, and very good news. As Robert Rapier says: "It also appears that we have enough natural gas available that civilization isn't going to end any time soon due to lack of energy supplies."
by JD


At Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 6:50:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...

Another great opportunity to pick up this topic, JD.

BTW, here's a prediction: When the Potential Gas Committee does their next iteration of this in a few years (or whenever), I predict this number will go up. Why? Simple: They're still discovering new shales and extensions of existing ones. For example, read the last two articles I posted on the Haynesville shale thread I've been keeping on the forum:
Best thing since sliced bread
This thing keeps getting bigger and bigger. I don't know exactly which specific resources the Potential Gas Committee included in its assessment, but I'm guessing they didn't include some of the latest additions and discoveries.

Another example: In the following article, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon thinks the Hayesville alone will eventually churn out 1.5 quadrillion c.f. of gas:
Haynesville Shale Primed to Become World's Largest Gas Field by 2020
"We think in time it will become the largest gas field in the world at 1.5 quadrillion cubic feet," he added.

Based in part on the last two articles I posted in the Haynesville thread, I would believe him. If true, that would make the Haynesville alone 3/4 the size of the number the Potential Gas Committee came up with. But of course they only figured the Haynesville for a fraction of that amount.

Another shale to watch is the Eagleford shale in Texas.

Finally, if you want to read someone's very interesting analysis beside the PGC's, check out the following thread on Seeking Alpha (careful examination will find a few comments by me ;-) ):
Is There Enough Natural Gas?
If, like this guy did, you include methane hydrates, the numbers get to be mind-boggling.

At Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 8:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope we're smart enough to convert to renewables instead of burning natural gas for much longer. It'd be better for the environment, health quality, and energy security in general.


At Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

The funny part is the Oil Drum last year stuck their noses up at the prospect of shale gas - even while the stuff was coming out of our rears! Finally - a few months later, when the mainstream press caught whiff of the gas - the Drumsters conceded defeat: "We guess there was a technological breakthrough." Nahhh... those guys never understood technology to begin with.

At Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 11:49:00 AM PDT, Anonymous joker said...

we'll probably need nat gas and renewables for awhile.

At Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 3:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...

Haha, great find Brewskie! Check out this doozy:

"So there you have a brief explanation of how the new technology is slowing, though it won’t stop, the declining gas reserve in the United States."

Now we've just been told the natural gas reserve is up 35%!

And another winner by Gail:

"There are other issues as well. I believe that Barnett Shale is now producing about 7% of US natural gas. Even if we find two or three areas that are equivalent to Barnett, this is still not a whole lot of gas. It will offset some declines elsewhere, but it is not going to give us a huge increase in production."

And the irony is that a lot of the comments which followed were about denialism. ;-)

At Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 5:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger regeya said...

Glad to see you back, JD. I was sad to see you take a break just as Kunstler started getting beaucoup media attention...

At Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 5:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger regeya said...

Also, it looks like Pickens is on the right track wrt natural gas. So where do I get a CNG car? ;-)

At Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 10:03:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope we do not start converting cars to natural gas en masse. That would be a grave mistake, IMO. For public transportation(buses) it is fine. However, we need to save it for home heating. The only thing that should power cars in the future (except for some currently unknown tech. breakthrough) is electricity.

Instead of 'cash for klunkers', we should have started a mass convert your car to electric program. That $4500 would have gone a long way for that conversion. Maybe some day our government will get it.

At Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 12:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...


Yah gotta luv this bit in the second post: "EIA has recently reported a big increase in US natural gas production (8.8%, comparing the first five months of 2008 with the first five months of 2007). Some have suggested that the EIA numbers must be wrong."

Don't try convincing Mr. Simmons about shale gas - we're still heading to gas Armageddon according to him.

At Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 10:08:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yah gotta luv this bit in the second post: "EIA has recently reported a big increase in US natural gas production (8.8%, comparing the first five months of 2008 with the first five months of 2007). Some have suggested that the EIA numbers must be wrong."

Don't try convincing Mr. Simmons about shale gas - we're still heading to gas Armageddon according to him."

I've noticed this logic before with "doomers." If a report supports their cause, it's instantly accepted as gospel truth. If a report contradicts their doom, it MUST be a lie. There's no way to win an argument when they have that logic.


At Friday, June 26, 2009 at 5:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...


If, for whatever reason, circumstances (such as increasing oil scarcity) and/or economic dictates from TPTB tell us we "must" start switching away from oil, I see two general alternatives:

1 - Pickens Plan:
- Transportation is converted to natural gas
- Power generation and other uses rely on a combination of nuclear, coal, wind, and solar.

2 - Your Alternative:
- Transportation is converted to electricity
- Power generation and other uses rely on a combination of nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind and solar.

I see #1 as being a lot easier and more practical for the simple reason that converting gasoline and diesel engines to natural gas is a relatively easy process. Only relatively minor design changes need to be made. Converting all transportation to electricity is a much more involved task. If you don't mind an extremely long transition period (at least 50 years would be my guess) then #2 would be OK I suppose. But if you wanted to do something much quicker, #1 would definitely be the way to go.

The amount of natural gas in the US and the rest of the world is so huge, I find it almost laughable to worry about saving it all for mere home heating.

At Friday, June 26, 2009 at 9:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using this gas for something as banal as producing electricity is a sin. It's turning gold into lead. We need to be accelerating the development and deployment of NG vehicles.

At Monday, June 29, 2009 at 10:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Exxon Mobil says it seems that China likely has similar Shale Gas Deposits to the US, meaning that global competition for remaining oil won't be as fierce since gas is a very good substitute for oil.


At Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a bit off-topic but it's in keeping with the debunking of the "peak everything" myth:

"DOOM-MONGERS have got it wrong - there is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population. And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa, say two international reports published this week.

Some 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land [in the world], and over half of the additionally available land is found in Africa and Latin America," concludes the report, compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)."

Seems that peak oil induced industrial collapse will be staved off by ridiculous amounts of shale gas and seems that peak land induced dieoff will be staved off by ridiculous amounts of previously uneconomic land being brought into production. kiss my pink ass.


At Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:57:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oilfinder ~

Transitioning to natural gas will only be kicking the can down the street a little further, since NG is also finite. We would just be pushing the problem for the next generation to deal with. Also, my understanding of shale gas is they peak extremely fast and can lose over 60% of their output in less than 1 year. I would say the jury is still out on how much we have exactly.

You seem unduly pessimistic about transitioning to an electric car fleet. The technology is already there and is only going to improve every year. We have been replacing the auto fleet every <15 years for many decades. There is no reason to believe a transition to electric would take 50 years!? Nuclear power with renewable energy is the only sustainable future we can hope for. We have plenty of coal to provide the electricity until the transition is complete.

At Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 12:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger Soylent said...

"I just hope we're smart enough to convert to renewables instead of burning natural gas for much longer."

That's a contradiction in terms. Renewables are the sales pitch for natural gas.

You need literally quadrillions of dollars worth of energy storage and energy transmission with current technology to make wind and solar work without natural gas. If you want to have a captive buyer for your natural gas, you want as much wind and solar as possible in the grid. That's why Enron was pushing wind turbines and why shell is pushing wind and solar.

At Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 1:16:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Transitioning to natural gas will only be kicking the can down the street a little further, since NG is also finite. We would just be pushing the problem for the next generation to deal with."

If we go whole hog towards converting our entire fleet to nat gas you are correct.
You are also correct that mid-term we are better off going to all-electric and use nuke and renewables for the long term while using coal to transition over.

Two problems though:
Our logistics and mass transit system is based on diesel buses and diesel heavy trucking and while we have an excelent solution in the form of electric buses and medium electric trucks there is no long range heavy truck equivalent.
We don't even have one on the drawing board.

For that reason and that it is relatively simple to convert trucks to natural gas AND we have tons of it, my money is on a mass truck conversion to run on natural gas.

That will give us at least another 10 years and possibly 20 years to get batteries good enough that we can get 500 miles range on a heavy duty truck.
Can we do it in 10-20 years?
I'd say so.

In 2000 when came out there really was no reasonable substitute to gasoline/diesel powered cars, trucks and buses.
Now we have (admittedly expensive) sports cars available with a 250 mile range and medium duty trucks and buses available with 100 mile ranges.

In the last two years there have been some significant breakthroughs in battery technology in the lab which should triple or quadruple the power density.

If we have a 13.5 ton medium duty truck with a 100 mile range with today's power density then surely with quadruple power density we can get an 18 ton truck with a 300 mile range (not quite 500 miles but probably acceptable).


At Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 8:15:00 AM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

Also a bit off topic, but I seem to remember that a few months back some doomers were predicting an imminent collapse in food production (due to farmers cutting back on fertilizer inputs or something).

Whatever happened with that?

“June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Corn plunged by the Chicago Board of Trade’s limit after a government report showed U.S. farmers planted more acreage with the grain than estimated in March. Wheat and soybeans also slid on signs of increasing supplies.”

At Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 8:57:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DB ~

I have absolutely no problem with the trucking industry using natural gas. However, they account for such a teeny tiny percent of our overall oil consumption(400,000 barrels per day iirc?), I except them to use diesel for decades to come. I do think it would be wise for the gov. to subsidize diesel fuel so product prices do not fluctuate and skyrocket along with diesel. That is the last thing this economy needs.

Don't forget we also have hybrid trucks that will cut the small % of oil they use even further.

I believe's new mantra is a downgrade in the standard of living and not a dieoff at all LOL. Someone posted the link at LATOC, but I can't find it for the life of me right now.

At Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 9:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Ben said...

Why not make this blog actually good and go into the details of what has changed in the industry. Why has the reserves number increased so much? Is it new fields? new technology? Instead of making sure to take potshots at the people you disagree with, why not discuss why they were wrong in a rational way. IMO your posts come off as childish, and they dilute any real, good information you might bring up.


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