EIA: Marcellus Shale Reserves Underreported

Remember all those stories about how “there really isn’t as much shale gas in the Marcellus and elsewhere as ‘industry’ wants you to believe”? Those stories got their start with an artful work of fiction by Ian Urbina in an New York Times article last year (click here to read it). Urbina supposedly quoted someone who called shale gas reserves a Ponzi scheme, a la Bernie Madoff or Enron. One of the arguments used to support that particular fiction was that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) had revised their estimates down for estimated reserves in the Marcellus Shale—down by a lot.

But what’s this? Last week EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski in testimony before Congress said with reference to Marcellus estimated reserves of natural gas, “I think it’s possible we’ll find, as production data begins to come in — Pennsylvania is a state that has significant lags in reporting of production data — we will begin to see those numbers inching up.” In the latest report from the EIA, their estimates for Marcellus Shale reserves in 2010, the latest reporting year, have gone up dramatically—based on production data just now coming in (see the EIA chart below).

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