Mike Pomorski Smart Guy Committee

By now, you have almost certainly heard about the Potential Gas Committee’s (PGC) announcement that the total natural gas resource base in the United States has increased by 39% compared to previous estimates.  To say that the natural gas industry is pretty excited about the PGC report is a bit of an understatement.

But forget the natural gas industry for a second.  Are you excited about this announcement?  You probably should be.

Imagine that a highly regarded, independent group (let’s call them the “Smart Guy Committee”) made the following announcement:

The Smart Guy Committee (SGC) today released the results of its latest biennial assessment of the nation’s gasoline resources, which indicates that the United States possesses a total resource base of gasoline that is 39% larger than previously estimated. This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 44-year history… “The SGG’s year-end 2008 assessment reaffirms the Committee’s conviction that abundant, recoverable gasoline exists within our nation’s gas station storage tanks… The SGC cautioned, however, that the current assessment assumes neither a time schedule nor a specific market price for the discovery and production of future gasoline supply. “Estimates of the SGC are ‘base-line estimates’ in that they attempt to provide a reasonable appraisal of what we consider to be the ‘technically recoverable’ gasoline resource potential of the United States,” the SGC explained.

In other words, imagine that a respected, independent group announced that every gas station in the country just realized that they had almost 40% more gasoline in their storage tanks than they previously thought.  Now, a lot of this gasoline may be located in storage tanks at abandoned gas stations, in depopulated rural areas, in storage tanks that are hard to get to or are sealed off, or in other places that may be difficult and/or expensive to pump into your car.

Still.  This caveat, which is important, would not change the fact that if you operate one of the nation’s 136 million state-registered cars you would probably dance in the streets, since this supply situation is good news for you at the pump.

Well, about 65 million of you are residential natural gas consumers, and, surprise surprise, the “Smart Guy Committee” statement above is taken from the Potential Gas Committee Report, with “natural gas” changed to “gasoline.”  The analogy is far from perfect, since producing natural gas is much more complicated and expensive than pumping gasoline at a filling station, but you get the idea.  All of a sudden, the United States has almost 40% more of a critical energy resource that is clean burning and used by tens of millions of people.

So, are you excited?

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