Survey increases estimates for natural gas in world

Assessed provinces in the USGS world petroleum survey. (Photo: USGS)

Outside of the United States, the world holds 20 percent more natural gas and 13 percent less oil than a previous assessment of global energy resources estimated, according to a U.S. government report.

According to the latest world petroleum assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated 5,606 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable conventional natural gas has yet to be discovered in the world, excluding the U.S.

The survey found 565 billion barrels of conventional oil has also not been discovered around the world. The USGS estimated 75 percent of that oil is in South America and the Caribbean (126 bbo), sub-Saharan Africa (115 bbo), the Middle East and North Africa (111 bbo) and Arctic provinces portion of North America (61 bbo).

“This assessment underscores the importance of continuing to strengthen our energy partnerships in the Western Hemisphere with nations like Brazil, where we are working closely with industry and government to share best practices on offshore drilling safety and to enhance the energy security of both our countries,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in a statement.

The estimate does not include resources from unconventional resources, such as shale gas, tight oil or oil sands.

The natural gas estimates is an increase from the 4,669 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas estimated by government during a similar 2000 survey. The increase is due to larger estimates for gas-rich areas in the Arctic and basins of East Africa, the agency said.

The survey decreased the amount of oil believes to be recoverable during the 2000 survey. That survey estimated 649 billion barrels of conventional oil were still undiscovered in the world.