New, Rigorous Assessment of Shale Gas Reserves Forecasts Reliable Supply from Barnett Shale Through 2030

Dave Barnett
By Dave Barnett on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - 7:27pm

This "rigorous study" tells us, in essence, "don't worry, we have plenty of gas left."  At least, that's what NPR would have us beleive.

The NPR interview is available at

The closing discussion states:

'The Shale Revolution Is Real'

"It's a very thorough and impressive study," says Scott Anderson, senior policy adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund who specializes in natural gas. Anderson says the study paves the way for increased production of electricity from a commodity that, in the past, has been seen as unreliable and volatile.

"This study does take a large step toward reassuring those people who are interested in banking on gas that the shale revolution is real," Anderson says, "and that it can be expected that large quantities of gas will persist for a long time, at fairly moderate prices."

In fact, shale production has been so vigorous nationally that the price of natural gas has dropped below $4 per million BTUs — generally considered the point at which many gas wells become profitable.

But with trillions of cubic feet of natural gas waiting to be extracted, prices aren't expected to rise unless the U.S. begins to export substantially."

Right. Don't worry, business as usual. Everything is fine. However, the very first graphic shows that in 2010, when the data was collected, we were nearly at peak in the Barnett Shale. (Full disclosure -- no relation to me, unfortunately.)

In the NPR piece, University of Texas geology professor Scott Tinker, who designed and authored this study, says "there's still a lot of gas down there, even after a decade of drilling" but, "It probably is reaching its plateau of production, which is about 10 percent of U.S. demand."

Those who know what peak petroleum is, can see the what's going on, but I can't imagine most people picking up on the coming predicament. NPR, among others, just glosses over the declining production.

The original press release from the University of Texas is

The full study is still in pre-publication peer review.

1 Comment

jasonw's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2011
Posts: 1029
Decades worth of exploitation left...

No problem.   Heard the same piece and the biggest thing that struck me was that they say we have decades worth of gas to pull out.  They think this is a good thing.  So when my kids are in their thirties (I will be generous and will give them 3 decades), then we can worry about really declining energy.  I just don't understand how folks can not look further ahead than a few years.  Like you Dave, my motivation for building resilience and living a life outside of the status quo is my kids and grandkids (not yet even an idea).  What challenges will they have to face in the coming decades. Thanks for posting. 

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