NATURAL GAS ENERGY
Are we running out of natural gas energy resources? To properly answer that question we should include all natural gas resources. That includes 'stranded' natural gas.
As discussed earlier, most current concern is focused on proved natural gas energy reserves. Proved reserves are gas deposits that have already been located, tested, and reasonably accurate estimates of their size are known. These reserves are also readily accessible and economical to bring to market. But a large portion of those reserve numbers are referred to as ‘stranded’ reserves.
So-called stranded natural gas deposits are located in remote areas that make it economically impractical to sink gas wells and pipe or otherwise transport the gas to outlying areas. Deep ocean gas wells are one example of stranded reserves. Until recently, much of the gas in the Middle East was considered stranded because there wasn't an economical way to bring it to market.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) systems and Gas to Liquid (GTL) systems are becoming more economical and are bringing ever increasing amounts of previously stranded gas to market.
Another type of stranded natural gas energy occurs in gas pockets that have proven to be too small to harvest. Since it can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to sink a usable gas well and get the gas to market, a well has to be a certain size to be economically viable.
Current global consumption of stranded reserves is tiny, but growing. And economically stranded reserves are huge. U.S. Department of Energy estimates show global stranded reserve totals of over 3,000 TCF. (Source:
D.O.E. Natural Gas Energy Outlook
Since there are now ways to compress natural gas and ship it to distant markets, and there are also ways convert natural gas into usable, and extremely clean, diesel fuel and gasoline, we can add ever increasing amounts of previously ‘stranded’ gas reserves to our global natural gas resources.
And there is yet another untapped source of natural gas, and it is huge. It is so large, in fact, that it dwarfs all of the fossil fuel resources of oil, coal, and gas reserves combined.
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