U.S. Natural Gas Proved Reserves Reach 30 Year High in 2006 Alaska and Gulf of Mexico Oil Reserves Revised Downward

November 5, 2007

COLUMBIA, SC – November 5, 2007 -U.S. natural gas proved reserves increased 3 percent in 2006, rising to over 211 trillion cubic feet, the highest level since 1976 according to estimates released today by the Energy Information Administration. Additions to reserves replaced 136 percent of the dry natural gas produced in 2006. This was the eighth year in a row that U.S. natural gas proved reserves have increased.

Texas led the nation in natural gas reserves additions in 2006 with a 9 percent increase in dry gas proved reserves due to rapid development of Barnett Shale reservoirs in the Newark East Field. Advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology and relatively high natural gas prices supported this development.

U.S. crude oil proved reserves declined 4 percent in 2006. The Gulf of Mexico Federal Offshore and Alaska, two of the largest oil producing areas, respectively reported 10 and 7 percent declines in crude oil proved reserves. This was due to downward revisions and fewer new discoveries. Utah reported the largest increase in crude oil proved reserves, adding 78 million barrels (a 30 percent increase from 2005), followed by Colorado and New Mexico.

Domestic natural gas production provides about 21 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. Natural gas production increased in 2006 due to production increases in Texas (Barnett Shale), Louisiana, and the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana). Gulf of Mexico natural gas production declined the most with a 6 percent drop.

Domestic crude oil production declined 5 percent in 2006 due mostly to lower production in Alaska. Part of the decline resulted from an August 2006 shut-in of producing wells in half of the Prudhoe Bay Field for inspection and repair of corrosion in the gathering system. For the second year in a row Montana had the largest annual oil production increase of any state (6 million barrels; a 20 percentincrease) owing to continued development of the Bakken Formation in the Elm Coulee Field. This relatively new and important oil field is difficult to produce and requires cutting-edge technology for economic production.

Advance Summary: U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves 2006 Annual Report is available on the EIA Internet site at:

The report described in this press release was prepared by the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. The information contained in the report and the press release should be attributed to the Energy Information Administration and should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any policy position of the Department of Energy or any other organization.