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On the Path to North American Energy Independence: Estimates of U.S. Natural Gas Reserves Soar

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The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) this week released the results of its latest assessment of America's natural gas reserves, estimating the United States' total recoverable resource base at 2,384 trillion cubic feet. This is the highest resource evaluation in the 48-year history of the Potential Gas Committee, a group of experts based at the Colorado School of Mines who conduct this assessment on a biennial basis. This year's estimates rose a stunning 22.1 percent since 2010.

PGC's estimates confirm that America's natural gas boom will continue as private-sector innovation and new drilling technologies are unlocking valuable American resources that were once considered off-limits. Dr. John B. Curtis, Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and Director of its Potential Gas Agency, stated, "Our knowledge of the geological endowment of technically recoverable gas continues to improve with each assessment. Furthermore, new and advanced exploration, well drilling, completion and stimulation technologies are allowing us increasingly better delineation of and access to domestic gas resources--especially "unconventional' gas--which, not all that long ago, were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue."

This assessment comes on the heels of a new report by the Congressional Research Service, which revealed America's shale gas boom was occurring in spite of the administration's policies, not because of them. The report showed that since 2007, natural gas production on federal lands fell by 33 percent while production on state and private lands grew by 40 percent.

"This report is encouraging news as we seek to increase America's energy self-sufficiency. But for the U.S. to take full advantage of these vast natural gas reserves, it is imperative that the administration reduce its regulatory red tape and stop blocking important production opportunities on federal lands," said Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO). "The natural gas boom is creating jobs across the country and many more wells remain to be drilled. Let's make sure we create a regulatory environment that will allow this vital American industry to continue to thrive."

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