EIA: US Oil Reserves Jump On Shale, But Gas Tumbles In 2012

The world's five largest resource-holders, which include OPEC's biggest members plus Canada, hold over 1 trillion barrels, according to the review.

U.S. gas production, meanwhile, remained at record highs, thanks to the heavy drilling of the previous five years. But reserves fell 26 trillion cubic feet, or 7.5 percent, to 322.7 tcf, as oversupply depressed prices, making drilling uneconomic.

As gas prices halved and dropped to a 10-year low below $2 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), investment in gas drilling fell sharply and the gas rig count plummeted from record highs.

Still, the EIA expects reserves to have rebounded again in 2013, when gas prices recovered to above $4 per mmBtu.

Proven reserves in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia surpassed those in the Barnett Shale play of Texas to become the largest in the country, the EIA said.

(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Additional reporting by Jonathan Leff and Edward McAllister; Editing by Alden Bentley and Dan Grebler)


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