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

09:12, April 07, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

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.



  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • The photo, taken on Sept. 26, shows the SWAT team ready for the joint exercise. (Xinhua/Wangkai)
  • Two metro trains in Shanghai collided Tuesday afternoon, and an identified number of passengers were injured in the accident, the Shanghai-based reported. Equipment failures were believed to have caused the crash on the Line 10 subway, Xinhua quoted local subway operator as saying.
  • An employee at a gold store in Yiwu, located in east China's Zhejiang province, shows gold jewelry on Monday.(Xinhua/Zhang Jiancheng)
  • Tourists ride camels near China's largest desert lake Hongjiannao in Yulin, north China's Shaanx Province, Sept. 24, 2011. Hongjiannao is shrinking as a result of climate change and human activities, and may vanish in a few decades. Its lake area, which measured more than 6,700 hectares in 1996, has shrunk to 4,180 hectares. Its water level is declining by 20-30 centimeters annually and its water PH value has risen to 9.0-9.42 from 7.4-7.8. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)
  • Actors perform royal dance at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Sept. 27, 2011. A ceremony commemorating the 38th South Korea Sightseeing Day was held in Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday. (Xinhua/He Lulu)
  • Actress Huang Jieqiong performs at the opening ceremony of the Second Ecological and Cultural Tourism Festival in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Hao Tongqian)
Hot Forum Discussion