National Energy Policy Institute

Abundant Shale Gas Resources: Some Implications for Energy Policy

Publication Date: April 30, 2010

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Abundant Shale Gas Resources:  Some Implications for Energy Policy: Stephen P.A. Brown (Resources for the Future), Steven Gabriel (University of Maryland), and Ruud Egging (University of Maryland)

According to recent assessments, the United States has considerably more recoverable natural gas in
shale formations than was previously thought. Such a development raises the possibility of a shift in U.S.
energy consumption toward natural gas. To examine how the apparent abundance of natural gas might
affect U.S. energy markets and the role of natural gas in climate policy, this paper models five
scenarios—reflecting different perspectives on natural gas availability, the availability of competing
resources, and climate policy—through 2030. Findings show that more abundant natural gas supplies
result in greater natural gas use in most sectors of the economy, and that natural gas could serve as a
bridge fuel to a low-carbon future if appropriate low-carbon policies are in place.

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