Discussion Paper

Abundant Shale Gas Resources: Long-Term Implications for U.S. Natural Gas Markets

Abstract

According to recent assessments, the United States has considerably more recoverable natural gas in shale formations than was previously thought. Such a development raises expectations that U.S. energy consumption will shift toward natural gas. To examine how the apparent abundance of natural gas and projected growth of its use might affect natural gas prices, production, and consumption, we useNEMS-RFF to model a number of scenarios—reflecting different perspectives on natural gas availability, the availability of competing resources, demand for natural gas, and climate policy—through 2030. We find that more abundant shale gas resources create an environment in which natural gas prices are likely to remain attractive to consumers—even as policy advances additional uses of natural gas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and bolster energy security.