University of Texas Study: 1st Shale Play Good til 2050 & Beyond

One of the arguments launched by anti-drillers is that “shale gas supplies won’t last”—supplies will run out quite quickly, in less than ten years (OMG!). This particular meme started with a pair of articles in the New York Times in June 2011 (see New York Times: Nightmare on Shale Gas Street). The Times articles call shale drilling a Ponzi scheme with very little actual gas (or “proved reserves”) in the ground. It’s just a head fake by energy companies to get investors to part with big money. Then we found out the main anonymous government source quoted in the Times articles was a lowly intern with ties to the anti-drilling Natural Resources Defense Council (see Unnamed Source in New York Times Anti-Gas Articles was…an Intern?!).

Leaving behind the fiction we so often find in the pages of the NYT, there’s at least two books being published this year by supposed industry insiders who pick up on the same meme (see Energy Industry Expert Says Shale Gas Will Last <10 Years). Let’s inject a little science into this discussion, shall we? The University of Texas is about to publicly release a new study on shale supplies in the Barnett Shale. The Barnett was the first shale play to be commercially developed in this country. The study’s conclusion? The Barnett will still be producing natural gas until 2050—and beyond. Although production will decline over time, the Barnett is a powerhouse—the country’s second-most productive formation. But you wouldn’t know that by reading stories about the new UT study from Bloomberg…

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