New drill technology may double U.S. natural gas reserves: Secretary Chu

09:12, April 07, 2010      

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U.S. natural gas reserves may have doubled thanks to new drilling technologies, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday.

U.S. natural gas reserves have definitely gone up by about 30 percent and "probably has doubled," Chu said in a keynote speech at a conference in Washington co-hosted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Johns Hopkins University.

Proved reserves of U.S. natural gas were 244.7 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2008, according to the EIA.

"That's a big deal because gas will be a transition fuel as we go to renewables," Chu said.

The reserves of natural gas that can be recovered from shale deposits using a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing is "yet to be proven," Chu said.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks. It is used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be produced from a reservoir, including unconventional reservoirs such as shale rock or coal beds.

Chu said the United States are developing technologies that will have significant impact, such as clean coal and carbon sequestration (CCS) technologies, small molecular reactors.

With a quarter of the world's coal reserves, the United States is investing four billion dollars in CCS technologies, matched by seven billion dollars of private sector money, Chu said.

He also said nuclear reactors will be "part of the future" and the small modular reactor that defined to be less than 300 MW but can be even less than 100 MW, have many advantages.

In an article published on March 23 in the Wall Street Journal, Chu said small modular reactors would be less than one-third the size of current plants. They have compact designs and could be made in factories and transported to sites by truck or rail. If commercially successful, small modular reactors would significantly expand the options for nuclear power and its applications.

In his 2011 budget request, U.S. President Barack Obama requested 39 million dollars for a new program specifically for small modular reactors.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:intern1)

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