• Notes
• Abstract
• Introduction
• The value of research
• Production as a metric
  for research value
   • Oil
   • Natural gas
• Meeting future U.S. 
  energy demands
   • Production
   • Imports
• Energy research
• Summary
• References 



Oil imports have exceeded U.S. domestic oil production since 1994, and the ratio of imported to produced oil will grow in the future. However, the world is moving progressively away from heavy carbon energy such as coal and oil to cleaner fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen. This is good news for the environment but will place a tremendous burden on the supply of natural gas in the United States.

To meet expected demand, the United States must replace and grow existing natural gas reserves by nearly 50% over the next 15 years (Figure 22). Much of that growth is forecast to come from unconventional and deepwater natural gas. Approximately 60% of the natural gas produced in the United States historically has come from Texas and the offshore Gulf of Mexico, and will likely remain at 60% or greater in the future (Figure 26 below).

Figure 26: U.S. natural gas production curve from Figure 22, superimposed with Texas and offshore natural gas production, and Texas and offshore natural gas production component forecasts.


As history has shown, increasing the natural gas production curve will require a significant investment in natural gas research and application of new technology. Reserve replacement will come from continued production of conventional and shallow-water natural gas and be the primary responsibility of independent producers. Reserve growth will come from unconventional and deepwater sources and will be the primary responsibility of the major oil companies. With continued investment, shale gas, coal gas, and tight gas will supply a part of the future U.S. natural gas demand, but it will not be enough. Additional sources of natural gas such as deep onshore (>15,000 feet) and methane hydrates could provide significant new reserves, but will require significant government investment in research as well as private investment in exploration and production.


Part of the U.S. natural gas supply will continue to be satisfied by imported natural gas from Canada. Although Mexico currently consumes an order of magnitude less natural gas than the United States (<2 Tcf vs. >21 Tcf), demand for natural gas in Mexico is forecast to increase considerably over the next decade. Several of the Gulf onshore basins in Mexico, including Burgos, Veracruz, and Macuspana, and the underexplored Mexico offshore have high natural gas potential. However, because demand for natural gas within Mexico is growing dramatically, it is unlikely that Mexico will become a net exporter of natural gas to the United States in the short or mid term. To fill the demand gap, imported LNG must continue to rise over the next decade.

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