The United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information
Administration, is the top natural gas producer and consumer in
the world, and with its 273 trillion cubic feet of proven
reserves, the United States holds the fourth largest source of
natural gas deposits globally.
Thanks to improvements in extraction and mining, much more of
the country's energy deposits are within reach than ever
Not surprisingly, companies are trying to get their hands on
as much as they can. But according to the U.S. Geological Survey,
there is the potential for even more. So, where are the country's
five largest potentially undiscovered shale gas reserves?
88,145.68 Billion Cubic Feet
3,463.13 Million Barrels of Liquid Natural Gas
Stretching from Alabama all the way to upstate New York by way
of the Appalachian Mountains, the Appalachian Shale Basin is at
the top of this list with more than an estimated 88,000 billion
cubic feet of shale natural gas yet to be found.
The region is in the midst of explosive natural gas
development since 2005, especially in Pennsylvania and Ohio,
where estimates anticipate the Marcellus Shale Formation in
Pennsylvania could lead the country's production of natural gas
in the next few decades. However, the region is hampered by
geography as a vast majority of its shale is located in
The basin also encompasses the Utica Shale deposit that lies
Already known as the country's leader in oil, Texas could be a
natural gas powerhouse in the future with two of the top
as-of-yet undiscovered shale gas deposits.
Stretching from El Paso to Lubbock, Texas, and from Clovis,
New Mexico, to Del Rio, Texas, the Permian Basin is next on our
list, with an estimated 35,130 billion cubic feet (bcf) of
undiscovered shale gas.
By contrast, the average consumer in Texas uses 607,000 cubic
feet of natural gas a year.
The state is already in the midst of a natural gas boom in the
southern portion of the state.
Overlapping Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Arkoma Basin is said to
potentially hold 26,670 bcf of natural gas.
Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin
Back in Texas, the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin is next on our
list with 26,228 bcf of natural gas yet to be found. Stretching
from Wichita Falls to San Antonio, the USGS' assessment predicts
that most of the state has some level of recoverable shale-locked
The basin holds the Barnett Shale formation which has prompted
large-scale hydraulic fracturing near the high-density areas of
Fort Worth and its suburbs.
Straddling the Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma state lines lies the
Anadarko Basin, said to hold 22,823 bcf of shale gas.