From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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Rocky Mountain Section AAPG and Colorado Oil and Gas Association meeting, Denver, Colorado, August 10, 2004

Unconventional Gas and Global Energy:
Is it Mountain Standard Time?

Scott W. Tinker


For well over a century there has been a predictable global transition away from solid energy fuels, to liquid energy fuels, to natural gas and other energy fuels. The global energy consumption trend toward natural gas and other energy sources has several positive outcomes. A global natural gas commodity market will help stabilize energy prices, combustion of natural gas will help to reduce atmospheric emissions relative to other fossil fuels, and natural gas is an excellent feedstock for hydrogen
As part of the long-term trend towards natural gas, there is a more subtle and often unrecognized trend showing an ever-greater percentage of U.S. production coming from unconventional natural gas. This U.S. production trend is critical because most of the world's unconventional natural gas resources-shale gas, coal bed methane, tight gas, and other forms still to be proven commercial-have yet to be discovered and developed, indicating a potentially very substantial global resource.
On this world stage, the U.S. will continue to set the pace for discovery and development of conventional and unconventional gas resources and conversion of coal to natural gas. The Rocky Mountain region is rich in all of these natural gas resources, and will play a critical national role as natural gas continues along its path towards the global bridge fuel of choice.