Natural Gas Supply

The United States natural gas resource base is the largest in the world and continues to grow as advanced technologies unlock vast quantities of natural gas from previously untapped formations. The production of huge supplies of cost-effective natural gas will dramatically reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil and improve our energy security. As global oil supplies become more scarce, more expensive, and more prone to supply disruptions, we are uniquely poised to take advantage of our tremendous supplies of natural gas to power our vehicles and our economy in the 21st century.

The United States now produces more natural gas than ever before. Nearly 90 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in the U.S., and nearly all remaining supplies come by pipeline from Canada. Less than 1 percent of domestically used natural gas is imported from outside of North America—a number which is quickly shrinking as U.S. natural gas reservoirs fill and domestic prices drop.

Two respected authorities, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Potential Gas Committee (PGC), provide reliable estimates of domestic natural gas resources.

The PGC's year-end 2010 assessment exceeds all others in their 46 year history with a reported 1,898 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas. Combined with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) proven dry-gas reserves as of year-end 2009, the PGC estimates the U.S. has 2,170 Tcf of future supply.

The PGC provides an optimistic outlook for all types of natural gas resources within our borders, both on land and under the ocean. The waters below the Gulf of Mexico represent 29 percent of total traditional resources, making it our country's richest natural gas source. The next richest sources are spread across the Atlantic, Rocky Mountain, and Mid-Continental regions with a combined 56 percent of total traditional resources.

In the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (Early Release), the EIA reports there are 2,214 Tcf of technically recoverable natural gas resources as of January 1, 2010. At the current rate of consumption in the U.S., which is about 24.1 Tcf per year, the EIA estimates domestic natural gas resources will supply over 90 years of use.

The newest finds—called shale plays—have been on land, where producers have used advanced technologies to discover and produce natural gas from shale rock formations. These new technologies allow producers to find the pockets of natural gas within shale formations and bring their contents to the surface. Natural gas is now being produced from shale formations found in Louisiana, Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and an area stretching from West Virginia to New York.

Both the Potential Gas Committee and the U.S. Energy Information Agency note the growing importance of shale gas. The PGC estimates that shale gas accounts for 36 percent of the U.S. resource base, and the EIA recently reported shale gas production has nearly doubled in the past three years.

For more extensive information, check out these other resources:

  • Click here to link to the Natural Gas Supply Association’s information on natural gas supply and demand
  • Click here for more information from America’s Natural Gas Alliance about natural gas resources.
  • Click here to read the U.S. Department of Energy’s Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer.