How Abundant? Assessing the Estimates of Natural Gas Supply

Byron Swift, Environmental Law Institute
Date Released
May 1999

This report analyzes the legal and economic factors, and provides an assessment of the cost and benefits, associated with increasing the use of natural gas for electric generation. It looks at the important preliminary issue of whether there is an adequate supply of natural gas available. Five scenarios of future natural gas supply, based on similar data but differing assumptions of the rate of technical progress or price changes are presented below. These scenarios include, Official Estimates, Historical Trends, Rapid Technology Growth, Low Prices and High Prices. The study concludes that the published government and industry reports of potential supplies of natural gas resources are based on restricted assumptions and significantly under-estimate the potential supply of natural gas.