The US has less coal than we thought


That rumble you feel under your feet could be the shifting supply of the nation's coal and natural gas. Today, The Wall Street Journal [subscription] reported that a new methodology for estimating our coal reserves has cut the amount of retrievable coal in the U.S. in half. At the present rate of consumption, this would deplete our domestic supplies by 2130. Much of the coal that had been included in previous estimates was deemed too expensive to ever mine commercially.

Just last month, however, we learned that a new natural gas supply, the Haynesville Shale, has been discovered in Louisiana that could yield 200 trillion cubic feet or more of gas. That deposit alone equals 33 billion barrels of oil, enough to replace 18 years of domestic oil production. Added to other new gas finds, the U.S. now has in excess of a 100 year supply at our present level of consumption.