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If someone asked you to name the United States’ most promising stash of natural gas (or the world’s, for that matter), your first reaction would probably be “shale gas.” That’s a good answer based on the explosion of shale gas activity in the US and globally, but it is wrong. The US Energy Information Administration puts the volume of proved US gas reserves at just over 272 Tcf, with shale gas making up about a quarter of the total at a smidge more that 60 Tcf. That is a lot of gas, but the figure pales when compared with estimates for methane hydrate resources in the US, which run from 100,000 to 370,000 Tcf. A study a few years ago from the (then) Minerals Management Service estimated Gulf of Mexico methane hydrate resources at 21,000 Tcf. That’s nearly 100 times current estimates for total US proved gas reserves. Any way you look at it, the resource is immense.
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