US has enough natural gas for 77 years

Nov 15, 2001 01:00 AM

The US has ample natural gas to meet current and future demand and will have sufficient pipeline capacity to move the gas to market, three industry trade organizations asserted. Responding to allegations made to a US Senate committee by some labour unions last month, the Natural Gas Supply Association, Interstate Natural Gas Assn of America and American Gas Association said the gas resource base in the Lower-48 states is a hefty 1,466 tcf. "At current consumption levels this is enough natural gas to last us 77 years," they said.
"In addition, Canada has substantial reserves and provides the US with over 15 % of our natural gas. And LNG is becoming an increasingly important part of our supply and may grow from less than 1 % today to over 5 % in 2005." "When combined, all of these factors show that the US has a robust natural gas supply that will continue to meet our energy needs today and in the future," the gas groups said.

Rebutting another of labour's claims, the trade groups insisted thatthe US power-generation industry is not becoming too dependent on gas. "This statement is disingenuous, given the nation's dependence on coal -- not natural gas -- to generate 51 % of its electricity," they said in a letter to Senator James Jeffords (Independent-Vermont), chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. "And that reliance is even greater in certain regions of the country, such as the Midwest, where coal-fired generation is 75 % of total generation."

Gas-fired generation, on the other hand, "accounts for only 15 % of the market nationwide." "It is true that natural gas is the leading fuel source of 'new' generation units," the organizations continued. "But even after all these natural gas units are built, coal will still dominate the electric generation market." Furthermore, "less than 10 % of all new gas-fired plants will operate as baseload facilities. And many of these new baseload plants are replacing older inefficient natural gas-fired plants, not replacing coal," the groups said.

Source: Platts
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