Proved natural gas reserves - United States 1991-2018

In the United States, 11.9 trillion cubic meters of proved natural gas reserves were reported in 2017 and 2018. This is the highest quantity on record, more than double that of the early 1990s, as more natural gas becomes economically feasible to extract. Increasing amounts of proved natural gas reserves in the United States correspond with a global trend as production techniques develop and further appraisals and discoveries are made.

The natural gas industry expands

As oil prices rose after the 2008 Recession, natural gas consumption increased as markets turned to a more affordable source of fuel. Low interest rates and a temporarily destabilized oil market gave investors greater incentive to develop unconventional methods of gas extraction, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. These developments made it more cost-effective to extract from natural gas reserves deep underground that were previously hard to reach.

The rise of shale gas

Implementation of hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” has led to an unprecedented increase in the production of shale gas in the United States. Heightened interest in natural gas and expanded extraction capabilities have contributed to greater speculation about reserves of previously unattainable shale gas in the United States and abroad.

Proved natural gas reserves in the U.S. from 1991 to 2018

Reserves in trillion cubic meters
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Release date

June 2019


United States

Survey time period

1991 to 2018

Supplementary notes

According to the source, proved reserves of natural gas are generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.
Some figures prior to 2017 are taken from previous editions of the publication.

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