Or is this the Obama administration trying to make shale gas not look like the “game-changer” everyone else says it is?
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports,
The shale has shrunk.
At least according to the U.S. Energy Department, which released new reserve estimates for the Marcellus Shale on Monday that severely cut the amount of natural gas estimated to be in the rock formation.
The estimate of 141 trillion cubic feet of gas — down from the 410 trillion the agency reported last year — is the latest result of yo-yoing in reserve numbers since drillers started extracting lucrative gas and oil from the formation underneath Appalachia.
The daily rate of Marcellus production doubled in 2011, but that development yielded new data giving what the department’s Energy Information Administration says is the truer — or at least latest — indication of how much recoverable gas awaits drillers signing leases in the region.
Despite the lower estimate, gas production in the United States is still expected to grow, lessening America’s dependence on energy imports and keeping natural gas prices at profit-busting lows.
Nationwide, shale gas production is expected to increase from 5 trillion cubic feet in 2010 to 13.6 trillion in 2035…
The drastic changes have led critics to say estimates are premature and as fickle as Goldilocks.
Travis Windle, spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition industry group, issued the following statement:
“EIA’s preliminary report underscores the critical and growing role that American natural gas will continue to play in meeting our nation’s growing energy needs for decades to come. And while estimates ebb and flow over time, history of oil and natural gas production always trends upward thanks to new technologies and innovations that even the brightest experts today could never foresee.
“In 2003, then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told a Senate panel that, ‘We are not apt to return to earlier periods of relative abundance and low prices anytime soon,’ ” he said, quoting the chairman during a gas shortage in the pre-Marcellus Shale days. “To think how far we’ve come in such a short period of time,” added Mr. Windle…