Game Changer: USGS Announces Largest Continuous Gas Resource Assessment Ever

Office of the Secretary

Last week, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released the largest continuous gas resource assessment it has ever conducted -- an estimated 304.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources on the U.S. Gulf Coast, quadrupling the 2010 estimate of 70 TCF.

"Bravo Zulu to the team of scientists and researchers at the USGS who continually supply government and business communities with critical resource information based on sound science," said Secretary Zinke. "Many times when the USGS does an assessment, they find more resources than were previously detected because of technological advancements and a greater geological understanding that is supported by new data and concepts. The latest assessment is critical to the responsible development of American resources, which is putting us on track to energy independence."

Found in the Bossier and Haynesville Formations within the onshore and state waters portion of the Gulf Coast Basin, the area also contains 4.0 billion barrels of oil and 1.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

It is just the latest example of how the USGS Energy and Minerals Mission Area provides the nation with unbiased research and assessments that focus on the location, quantity, and quality of mineral and energy resources, including the economic and environmental effects of resource extraction and use. 

“As the USGS revisits many of the oil and gas basins of the United States, 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. "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. These changes are why the USGS remains committed to performing the most up-to-date assessments of these vital resources throughout the United States and the world.”

The Bossier and Haynesville Formations have long been known to contain oil and gas, but it wasn’t until 2008 that production of the continuous resources really got underway in East Texas and North Louisiana, the primary production areas for the two formations.

“It’s amazing what a little more knowledge can yield,” said USGS scientist Stan Paxton, lead author of the assessment, explaining the difference between the new assessment and previous ones. “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 leads to a better geological model and therefore a more robust assessment.”

Learn more about the resources of the Bossier and Haynesville Formations.