Frequently Asked Questions

How much natural gas does the United States have and how long will it last?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that as of January 1, 2012 there were about 2,266 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable resources of dry natural gas in the United States.  At the rate of U.S. dry natural gas consumption in 2012 of about 26 Tcf per year, the United States has enough natural gas to last about 87 years. The actual number of years will depend on the amount of natural gas consumed each year, the amounts of natural gas imports and exports, and additions to natural gas reserves.

Technically recoverable reserves consist of proved reserves and unproved resources. Proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas are the estimated volumes expected to be produced, with reasonable certainty, under existing economic and operating conditions.  Unproved resources are additional volumes estimated to be technically recoverable without consideration of economics or operating conditions, based on the application of current technology.

Learn more:

Table 9.2. Technically recoverable U.S. dry natural gas resources as of January 1, 2012

Oil and natural gas resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty

Geology and technology drive estimates of technically recoverable resources

Annual Energy Outlook 2014: Shale gas provides largest source of growth in U.S. natural gas supply

Annual Energy Outlook 2012: Issues in Focus: U.S. crude oil and natural gas resource uncertainty

Natural Gas Consumption by End-Use

Shale in the United States

Last updated: December 3, 2014

Other FAQs about Natural Gas

On This Page:


Conversion & Equivalents

Crude Oil





General Energy

Natural Gas




Full list of upcoming reports

Sign up for email notifications

Get the What's New RSS feed

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask an energy expert.