Cover: Assessing Natural Gas and Oil Resources

Assessing Natural Gas and Oil Resources

An Example of a New Approach in the Greater Green River Basin

Published 2003

by Tom LaTourrette, Mark A. Bernstein, Mark Alan Hanson, Christopher G. Pernin, Debra Knopman, Adrian Overton

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Natural gas demand in the United States is projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 25 years, and most of this demand is projected to be met by increasing domestic production. Much of the nation's future natural gas supply is located on federal lands in the intermountain west. Consequently, demands on federal land managers to open western lands for energy exploration and development are increasing rapidly. This report presents a new approach to assessing natural gas and oil resources that is intended to help federal land managers with strategic land use planning by expanding the scope of these assessments to include economic and environmental considerations. This approach provides a robust understanding of energy resource characteristics by accounting for the economics associated with production and by moving some of the environmental characterization steps upstream in the decisionmaking process. This will allow land managers to better distinguish energy resources in different areas and therefore help prioritize areas for consideration for energy resource development. The approach is demonstrated for the Greater Green River Basin in Southwestern Wyoming, which is estimated to contain about 9 percent of the nation's future natural gas supply.

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Science and Technology for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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