Shale-gas production now accounts for approximately 7% of annual domestic production, noted John Curtis, professor at Colorado School of Mines, in a presentation I attended at the recent AAPG Annual Convention in Denver. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that shale-gas production will overtake coalbed-methane production by 2025, and will grow from current volumes of more than 1 Tcf to 2.3 Tcf annually by 2030. A good part of today’s shale-gas production flows from the Barnett play in North Texas. Indeed, U.S. gas production as a whole grew by 9% from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008, in large part thanks to the Barnett. Going forward, various forecasts call for shale-gas supply to grow to 10% or more of daily U.S. production. Some experts have even pegged eventual shale-gas contributions at levels as high as 50%. There are many constraints, naturally, including environmental and regulatory issues and pipeline capacities. But one area that does not appear to offer limits is the sheer size of the technically recoverable resource. The industry’s understanding of the shale-gas resource base has grown tremendously in the past few years, noted Curtis. From older plays such as the Ohio shale in Appalachia to the Antrim in Michigan, the shale-gas universe has grown to encompass such powerhouses as the Barnett and Fayetteville and Woodford shales in the Midcontinent. Now, the Haynesville, in East Texas and North Louisiana, and the burgeoning Marcellus, in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, are delivering on their great promise. And, plays like the Eagle Ford in South Texas continue to emerge. “The good news is that the technically recoverable resource base is sufficient to support increases from the 10% level on up,” he said. Truly, that is good news! Curtis is Director of the Potential Gas Agency; the Potential Gas Committee's 2009 report details the striking growth in U.S. gas potential. To learn more, click here. --by Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor