Updated USGS assessment triples amount of nat gas in Haynesville

By Luke Geiver | April 19, 2017

Technological advancements present in the North American shale industry during the past four years have helped to increase oil and gas production, and, the importance of continuous assessment work by the U.S. Geological Survey. This month, USGS released an updated assessment of one of the original shale gas plays in the U.S.—the Haynesville shale. The new assessment revealed that the Texas and Louisiana play is the largest gas resource in the U.S. “As the USGS revisits many of the oil and gas basins of the U.S., we continually find that technological revolutions of the past few years have truly been a game-changer in the amount of resources that are now technically recoverable,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources program.

“It’s amazing what a little more knowledge can yield,” said USGS Scientist Stan Paxton. “Since the 2010 assessment, we’ve gotten updated geologic maps, expanded production history and have a greater understanding of how these reservoirs evolved. All of that,” he added, “leads to a better geological model and therefore a more robust assessment.”

To provide its geological assessments, the USGS performs a high, medium and low estimate for the volume of oil or gas in a resource area that can be recovered. For the Haynesville assessment, USGS estimates that it contains a mean estimate of 1.1 billion barrels of oil, 195.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 900 million barrels of natural gas liquids. For the Bossier formation, also located in the same region, USGS estimates there is 2.9 billion barrels of oil, 108.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1 billion barrels of NGLs.

“Changes in technology and industry practices, combined with an increased understanding of the regional geologic framework, can have a significant effect on what resources become technically recoverable,” Guidroz said. “These changes are why the USGS remains committed to performing the most up-to-date assessments of these vital resources throughout the U.S. and the world.”

The previous USGS assessment of the Bossier and Haynesville was completed in 2010. At the time, the USGS estimated there was 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Bossier and 61.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Haynesville.

Many believe the Marcellus and Utica formations of the Northeast to hold the most gas resources in the U.S.