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03 June 2023

Gas reserves to last for 100 years

By Nadim Kawach


The Middle East has enough gas to last more than 100 years at current production levels, says an official US report. This means the region has the highest reserves-to-production ratio of any gas-rich territory, the study by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the United States Department of Energy reveals.


About three-quarters of the world’s proven reserves are in the Middle East and Eurasia, the authors say. Russia, Iran and Qatar alone accounted for more than half of global gas resources at the start of 2007.


The report estimates the world’s total extractable gas deposits at more than 6,000 trillion cubic feet, but says more than four trillion cubic feet remain undiscovered.


“Russia, Iran and Qatar combined accounted for 58 per cent of the world’s total gas reserves at the beginning of 2007,” said the report. “Reserves in the rest of the world are fairly evenly distributed on a regional basis.


“Despite high rates of increase in natural gas consumption, particularly over the past decade, most regional reserves-to-production ratios are substantial.


“Worldwide, the reserves-to-production ratio is estimated at 65 years. Central and South America have a reserves-to-production ratio of about 52 years, Russia 80 years and Africa 88 years. The Middle East’s reserves-to-production ratio exceeds 100 years.”


The survey cites new data by the US Geological Survey that suggests a significant volume of natural gas remains undiscovered. “Worldwide, undiscovered natural gas is estimated at 4,136 trillion cubic feet.


Within the total natural gas resource base, an estimated 3,000 trillion cubic feet is in stranded reserves, usually located too far away from pipeline infrastructure or population centres for its transportation to be economical. Of the new natural gas resources expected to be added through 2025, reserve growth accounts for 2,347 trillion cubic feet.”


The study give no figures for regional gas production but say output increases in non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations are projected to account for more than 90 per cent of the world’s total growth in production from 2004 to 2030.


“In the non-OECD countries, production is projected to grow by an average 2.6 per cent per year, from 59 trillion cubic feet in 2004 to 119 trillion cubic feet in 2030.

“Russia and the Middle East each account for around 20 per cent of the increase in annual production over the projection period.


“Both regions are expected to provide connections to natural gas markets in the Atlantic and Pacific basins, with Russia exporting mainly by pipeline and most Middle East exports being shipped as liquefied natural gas.”