U.S. oil and natural gas reserves up in 2001

Sept. 27, 2002 — U.S. crude oil and natural gas proved reserves increased in 2001. Reserves additions exceeded production by 21 percent for oil and 31 percent for natural gas in 2001.

This is according to the “Advance Summary: U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves 2001 Annual Report” released today by the Energy Information Administration. Proved reserves are volumes of oil and gas still in the ground that are reasonably certain to be produced in the future.

One new deepwater field accounted for a significant portion of all new oil reserves. Thunder Horse Field is located 125 miles southeast of New Orleans at a water depth of 6,000 feet. After full development, Thunder Horse is expected to be the largest field in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. crude oil proved reserves increased by almost 2 percent in 2001. Reserves additions were 121 percent of domestic oil production. From 1977 through 1996, proved reserves of crude oil declined 17 out of 19 years. In striking contrast, they increased 4 out of the last 5 years.

New field discoveries of oil in 2001 were at the highest level since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay Field proved reserves were added in the 1970s. The majority of crude oil proved reserves additions came from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore and Alaska, both of which are frontier areas. Total discoveries of crude oil were 2,565 million barrels in 2001, almost twice the year 2000 discoveries and greater than three times the prior 10-year average.

The majority of crude oil discoveries in 2001 were in new fields, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore and Alaska. New field discoveries were 1,407 million barrels in 2001 — four times as much as in 2000 and over six times as much as the prior 10-year average. Deepwater crude oil proved reserves are now almost 3 times those in the shallower water of the continental shelf .

Proved reserves of dry natural gas increased 3.4 percent in 2001. Reserves additions were 131 percent of domestic dry natural gas production. U.S. natural gas proved reserves have increased in 7 of the last 8 years.

The majority of natural gas proved reserves additions, most of which required the application of improved technology, were in the Pinedale Field in Wyoming, the Lobo Trend and Barnett Shale gas fields in Texas, and the Wattenberg Field in Colorado. Coalbed methane proved reserves and production continued to grow in 2001.

Coalbed methane accounted for 9.6 percent of proved dry gas reserves and 7.9 percent of dry gas production. Significant reserves were added in the Powder River Basin coalbed methane fields in Wyoming and the coalbed methane fields in Colorado.

This year’s reserves survey found that year 2001 dry natural gas production increased almost 3 percent, reaching the highest level since 1977 when EIA initiated its proved reserves report series.

The U.S. production estimate of 19.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is based on production reported by 1,439 surveyed operators of oil and gas wells. The operators directly reported 97 percent of this volume and EIA statistically estimated the remaining 3 percent.

“Advance Summary: U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves, 2000 Annual Report” is available on the EIA Internet site at: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/fwd/adsum2001.html.

The figures referenced above may be viewed along with this press release on EIA’s Web Site or can be requested from EIA’s Press Contact.


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