* New assessment includes gas-rich areas in Arctic, Africa
* Estimates do not assess shale oil and gas, oil sands
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, April 18 Regions outside of the
United States hold 20 percent more untapped conventional natural
gas and about 13 percent less oil than previously estimated,
according to a U.S. government report released on Wed nesday.
In its latest world petroleum assessment, the U.S.
Geological Survey estimated that about 5,606 trillion cubic feet
of technically recoverable conventional natural gas is still
undiscovered around the world, excluding the United States.
That's up from the 4,669 tcf estimated by the government in
2000. Much of that increase was due to the inclusion of the
gas-rich areas Arctic and the basins of East Africa in the new
survey, the agency said.
The USGS lowered its estimate of untapped world oil
resources to 565 billion barrels, down from 649 billion barrels
in the 2000 report.
"That's telling us something about how plentiful gas is
likely to be in the future relative to oil and that is something
we might want to take into account in our future energy mix,"
USGS Director Marcia McNutt said on a conference call.
The agency's projections included only oil and gas that
could potentially be produced using existing technology and
industry practices. The assessment did not take into account
economic feasability and did not include unconventional fuel
sources such as shale oil and gas and oil sands.
Advances in drilling techology have allowed drillers to
develop vast shale oil and gas deposits in the United States,
dramatically raising U.S. oil and gas output.
(Editing by David Gregorio)