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USGS: Northeast Gas Reserves Smaller than Expected

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WNYC

Upstate New York might not sit on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world after all. That's according to the latest estimate by the U.S. Geologic Survey.

Upstate New York might not sit on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world after all. That's according to the latest estimate by a federal agency. WNYC's Ilya Marritz explains the new numbers could spell trouble for the companies seeking to develop the resource.
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[No one disputes that there's a lot of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from upstate New York to West Virginia. But exactly how much gas is there?
The US Geologic Survey looked at, quote, new geologic information and engineering data, and put reserves at 84 trillion cubic feet. That's 80 percent less than an earlier estimate made by the Energy Department, and an even smaller percentage of what energy companies have been saying.
For them, this could spell trouble. New York's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently subpoenaed documents in a probe of whether energy companies misled shareholders with overly optimistic assessments of gas reserves. 
For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz]

 

 

Upstate New York might not sit on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world after all. That's according to the latest estimate by a federal agency. WNYC's Ilya Marritz explains the new numbers could spell trouble for the companies seeking to develop the resource.
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[CutID: <DAVID:DigaSystem\NEWS>PB8-NCR4-DAW_003A022C64E0468380538026A0A65FD4.WAV
Time: 39s
Title: news20110824_FRACKING_marritz
Out-cue: ]
[No one disputes that there's a lot of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from upstate New York to West Virginia. But exactly how much gas is there?
The US Geologic Survey looked at, quote, new geologic information and engineering data, and put reserves at 84 trillion cubic feet. That's 80 percent less than an earlier estimate made by the Energy Department, and an even smaller percentage of what energy companies have been saying.
For them, this could spell trouble. New York's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently subpoenaed documents in a probe of whether energy companies misled shareholders with overly optimistic assessments of gas reserves. 

The USGS examined production data supplied by New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, and concluded that the Marcellus Shale holds 84 trillion cubic feet of “recoverable” gas. That's 80 percent less than an earlier estimate made by the Department of Energy.

The USGS’ task leader for the study, James Coleman, said about a dozen geologists, engineers and map specialists worked together for a year to come up with the number. The discrepancy with the DoE’s figure of 410 trillion cubic feet came as a big surprise.

“We sat there and looked at the number and said, ‘Hmmm, that's not what we expected,’” Coleman said. “But it was a number that we agreed to agree to. No one left unhappy. People went through various stages of amusement, bewilderment, intrigue — all sorts of nifty words we threw out to express how we felt at completion of this.”

Coleman added he will spend the next weeks comparing DoE and USGS calculations.

The study could be a sign of trouble for natural gas drillers. New York's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently subpoenaed documents in a probe of whether energy companies misled shareholders with overly optimistic assessments of gas reserves.

For them, this could spell trouble. New York's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, recently subpoenaed documents in a probe of whether energy companies misled shareholders with overly optimistic assessments of gas reserves. 
The USGS’ number also stands in sharp contrast with a 2009 estimate produced by two independent geologists, and cited widely by pro-gas drilling groups, which puts the Marcellus’ recoverable reserves at 1,300 trillion cubic feet.
The Marcellus Shale stretches from New York to Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments [1]

Clark from maplewood, nj

When was the DOE study done?

Aug. 25 2011 10:13 AM

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