Updated July 2017
General Policy Statement
An assessment of the long-range prospects of the natural gas industry in the United States—an assessment useful for financial, managerial and government purposes—requires, as an essential element, scientific, authoritative and objective assessment of the potential supply of natural gas that may become available to the nation in addition to currently available proved recoverable reserves of natural gas.
The Potential Gas Committee fulfills this requirement by providing timely assessments of the potential supply of natural gas that may become available. For the end-2016 assessment, the PGC, together with its Area Work Committees, Advisors, Representatives and Observers, consisted of about 80 individuals from the exploration, production, transmission and distribution sectors of the natural gas industry. These volunteers are knowledgeable with respect to potential supplies of natural gas and, in a number of cases, serve the PGC in multiple capacities.
The Committee functions independently but with the guidance, assistance and administrative support of the Potential Gas Agency at the Colorado School of Mines. The Agency receives financial support from E&P and gas pipeline companies and distributors, as well as industry trade and research organizations and unaffiliated individuals.
Members of the PGC and its Area Work Committees often discuss matters and data that are considered confidential in nature. Fulfillment of the PGC’s objectives cannot effectively be realized without the availability, utilization and objective evaluation of such information. It is, therefore, the policy of the PGC and its Work Committees that every officer, member, advisor, representative and observer recognize and respect the confidential nature of such data that have been made available and that no confidential information, discussions or other data will be disclosed except as approved for release by the PGC and the source or holder of the information.
The organizational structure for the assessment of the potential supply of natural gas is shown in Figure below. Detailed descriptions of the membership and duties of the PGC and its committees follow.
Potential Gas Agency
The Potential Gas Agency functions under the direction of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Colorado School of Mines. The School appoints staff personnel to the Potential Gas Agency.
The Agency is charged with maintaining scientific standards and objectivity of studies and publishing the reports of the Potential Gas Committee. The Agency approves the President/General Chairman and Regional Vice Presidents of the PGC, approves the appointments of members, representatives and observers to the PGC and the chairs of all subcommittees.
The Potential Gas Agency includes the following:
1. Director, appointed by and responsible to the Colorado School of Mines.
2. Such additional staff personnel as may be required.
3. Members of the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines or other qualified individuals who may, from time to time, provide such professional and technical services as the Director of the Potential Gas Agency and the President/General Chairman of the Potential Gas Committee may deem necessary or desirable in discharging the duties of the Potential Gas Agency and the Potential Gas Committee.
The primary duties and responsibilities of the Potential Gas Agency are to:
1. Approve criteria and methodologies established by the Potential Gas Committee.
2. Insure maintenance of the highest scientific standards and objectivity in Potential Gas Committee studies and reports, including protecting the confidentiality of PGC data.
3. Review and evaluate reports prepared by the Potential Gas Committee.
4. Publish, distribute and publicize the Potential Gas Committee’s biennial resource assessments and other relevant reports that the Potential Gas Committee may prepare so as to assure their widest possible distribution and to promote their understanding.
5. Further develop mutual understanding among sectors of the natural gas industry by helping unite the industry behind the potential gas resource studies.
6. Help improve industry-government relations in the public interest, looking toward maximum acceptance and usefulness of potential gas resource studies.
7. Fulfill professional obligations to publish technical papers and to prepare presentations concerning new techniques, methodologies, trends and scientific knowledge gained.
8. Approve President/General Chairman and Regional Vice Presidents of the Potential Gas Committee.
9. Conduct the work of the Potential Gas Agency, in the public interest, in a manner that enhances the stature of the Colorado School of Mines.
10. Adhere to the highest standards of objectivity.
The Colorado School of Mines may pursue other research, and individuals from the Agency may be involved in other research, consulting, and preparation and publication of papers in their respective professional fields, so long as these activities neither involve a conflict of interest nor invalidate the objectivity of the Agency.
Potential Gas Committee
The Potential Gas Committee consists of members, advisors and representatives from the exploration, producing, pipeline and distribution sectors of the and natural gas industry, together with observers from various professional and industry trade associations, research organizations and government agencies, and from Canada and Mexico.
The Potential Gas Committee is organized into eight Area Work Committees with chairs who are overseen by two Regional Vice Presidents (Eastern and Western). These committees perform the actual resource assessments for their respective areas. Standing committees include the Board of Directors, Editorial Committee, Committee on Definitions and Procedures, Time and Site Committee and Website Committee. The duties and present membership of these committees are detailed below. Organization of the Potential Gas Committee is outlined in Figure below.
The President/General Chairman of the Potential Gas Committee is the principal executive officer and, subject to the control of the Board of Directors, has the responsibility to supervise and control the business of the PGC.
All members of the PGC, except those designated as Observers, are considered to be voting members of the PGC. Observers are invited and encouraged to participate in discussions of items brought before the PGC but may not vote on the determination of policy and procedures. Alternates for either Representatives or Observers may be appointed.
Candidates for President/General Chairman and Regional Vice Presidents normally are geologists, petroleum engineers or others with geologic engineering and/or other technical backgrounds who are actively working with exploration and production companies, pipelines and distributors, independent firms or the. academic community. Retired or semiretired industry persons or otherwise qualified individuals are not, however, excluded from consideration.
Officers of the Potential Gas Committee and Area Work Committees are appointed as outlined in Figure 2. Normally, they serve for one reporting period (two years, ending on the even-numbered year) but are eligible for reappointment for one additional reporting period. In calculating eligibility for reappointment, a partial term of office shall not be counted. This policy shall not operate to disqualify a member from longer service by reason of elevation in the organization. In other words, the two-term limitation shall apply to each position held, considering each membership or officeholding on a work committee or top committee as a separate position.
All officers, regional vice presidents and gas pipeline and distributor representatives shall be subject to the two-report limit. Exceptions must be recommended by both the appropriate Committee chair and the Potential Gas Agency.
Technical Advisors are persons who have specialized knowledge of the occurrence of natural gas or the natural gas industry and whose expert advice contributes to the successful fulfillment of the Committee’s objectives. Past chairs of Work Areas and Past Regional Vice Presidents may be appointed as Technical Advisors if they are willing to continue their participation in the Committee’s activities. Their appointments are recommended by the Director of the Potential Gas Agency. Although Technical Advisors generally are appointed for the preparation of a specific PGC report, their appointments may be extended indefinitely but are subject to review and approval at the time PGC workers are organized for each succeeding report.
The designation of Honorary Technical Advisor may be bestowed upon any individual who has performed exceptional service to the PGC and whose participation and advice are desired and encouraged for the continued successful operation of the Committee. Honorary Technical Advisors, whose appointments are recommended by the Board of Directors, are permanent voting members.
Observers from sponsoring companies, industry trade and research organizations, governmental agencies and other cooperating groups serve at the discretion of the respective organizations and are not subject to the two-report policy.
The primary duties and responsibilities of the Potential Gas Committee are to:
1. Outline the scope and coverage of the assessment of potential natural gas resources in the United States.
2. Establish criteria and methods for timely assessment of potential natural gas resources and other relevant studies.
3. Designate Work Areas and special projects.
4. Appoint a Chair for each Area Work Committee (by action of the President/General Chairman of the Potential Gas Committee).
5. Approve appointments of various other members of each Area Work Committee who are appointed by the Chair of each Area Work Committee (by action of the President/General Chairman of the Potential Gas Committee).
6. Instruct Area Work Committee chairs and members.
7. Supervise, coordinate, advise, review, evaluate, approve and compile assessment and such other assignments as may be given to committees.
8. Prepare reports of final assessments and such other reports as may be relevant.
9. Submit reports of final assessments and other relevant reports to the Potential Gas Agency and counsel the Director regarding publication and distribution of such reports.
Area Work Committees
Seven Area Work Committees are the backbone of the Potential Gas Committee. Each is responsible for developing an assessment of the potential supply of natural gas within a particular region of the United States. Following the system long used by the petroleum industry, each Area Work Committee is assigned geologically relevant provinces or basins (without specific regard to state lines) in which its members have expert working knowledge. Committee members, with their sources of information (often confidential), are the source of knowledge and judgment for assessing the undiscovered gas supply within each province. Because geological boundaries rather than specific geographical divisions are used, publication of assessments by individual states is not feasible.
The membership of Area Work Committees consists of employees and consultants associated with the producing, exploration, pipeline and distribution sectors of the natural gas industry, as well as qualified personnel from state and federal agencies and educational institutions.
For administrative purposes, Area Work Committees are grouped into two regions, Eastern and Western. Each is supervised by a Regional Vice President who coordinates activities of the Area Work Committees within that jurisdiction and works with the PGC President/General Chairman to ensure an open flow of communication in both directions, and to ensure that Area Work Committees follow the established techniques for resource assessment.
Membership of each Area Work Committee includes the following:
2. Vice Chair.
3. An appropriate number of qualified working members deemed necessary by the Area Chair to ensure the most objective assessments of potential supplies of natural gas in the respective areas assigned. Work Committee members are individuals from the natural gas and oil industries and other s who are qualified by their knowledge and experience to perform assessments of potential supplies of natural gas. These individuals are selected for each area because they have a close, working knowledge of all aspects of natural gas exploration and production.
4. At least one qualified representative from the natural gas pipeline industry. (This requirement is currently waived for the Alaska Area Committee.)
5. At least one qualified representative from the natural gas distribution industry. (This requirement is currently waived for the Alaska Area Committee.)
The Chair and Vice Chair of each Area Work Committee are subject to the two-report limit. Exceptions must be recommended by the Regional Vice President and approved by the PGC President/General Chairman and by the Director of the Potential Gas Agency, and only after receiving a letter of clearance from the member’s employer.
Other members of the Area Work Committees, appointed by the Area Chair, normally participate in the preparation of two consecutive reports. Service beyond these two reports may be continued if necessary to maintain adequate expertise and continuity on the Area Work Committee. Continuation of service beyond two reports must be recommended by the Area Chair and approved by the Regional Vice President, PGC President/General Chairman and Director of the Potential Gas Agency.
The primary duties and responsibilities of Area Work Committees are to:
1. Appoint an appropriate number of qualified working members to ensure proper representation of various sectors of the industry and to ensure objectivity for the highest degree of accuracy possible for assessments of potential natural gas supply among the assigned provinces (by action of each Area Work Committee Chair).
2. Assess the quantity of potential natural gas supply in working areas designated by the PGC pursuant to its established guidelines and parameters and approved by the Potential Gas Agency, and such other studies as may be assigned by the PGC.
3. Perform such other assignments as may be made in the respective area assigned by the PGC regarding such assessments.
Each member of each Area Work Committee submits assessments of potential supplies of natural gas (including, in some cases, coalbed gas) and completes such other tasks as may be assigned to the Chair and other committee members for review, evaluation and approval.
Because the type and quantity of available information upon which to base potential gas resource assessments vary widely from area to area, Committee members use various approaches in making their assessments. Inasmuch as individual members often work with information obtained on a confidential basis, and for the reasons stated earlier, their working papers are not revealed in detail to anyone, including other members of the same Committee or others within the PGC.
Board of Directors
The business and affairs of the Potential Gas Committee are managed by the Board of Directors, which considers and discusses matters of policy brought to its attention and makes recommendations to the PGC regarding changes in policy. It acts on behalf of the PGC on matters of urgency that may arise between regularly scheduled PGC meetings. It also is empowered to act on behalf of the Committee on matters designated by the PGC. At such times as vacancies occur in the following offices, the Board of Directors elects replacements—PGC President/General Chairman, Regional Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Chairman of the Board is elected from the membership of the Potential Gas Committee by its voting members at a regular meeting. Nominations for Chairman are made by the Board of Directors, but nominations also may come from the floor. Normally, the Chairman is elected at the fall meeting following publication of the biennial PGC report and serves for one year. Vacancies are filled by election at the next regular PGC meeting, following the same procedure, and a Chairman so elected serves for the remainder of the unexpired term. In the absence of an elected Chairman, the PGC President/General Chairman serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The following current and ex officio members are voting members—President/General Chairman, Regional Vice Presidents, Secretary, Director of the Potential Gas Agency, Chairmen of the Standing Committees, and Representatives appointed to the PGC from the American Gas Association, the natural gas pipeline and distribution industries, the Canadian natural gas industry and the Mexican natural gas industry.
The Editorial Committee reviews and approves the editorial content and format of PGC’s printed reports and digital products. Members work closely with the Potential Gas Agency in the compilation, editing and printing of all official publications of the Potential Gas Committee.
Membership of the Editorial Committee includes (1) Chair, appointed by the PGC President/General Chairman and approved by the Board of Directors, (2) six members of the PGC, appointed by the Editorial Committee Chair, with approval of the President/General Chairman, and (3) ex officio members—PGC President/General Chairman, Director of the Potential Gas Agency, and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Committee on Definitions and Procedures
This Committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending to the PGC membership any proposed changes in the definitions and procedures used in the assessment of potential gas resources. Proposals for review by the Committee may be submitted by any PGC member. The Committee further reviews assessments of potential gas resources made by other organizations that come to the attention of the Committee and may, from time to time, as deemed appropriate, prepare analyses and discussions regarding comparisons between the work of the PGC and that of other organizations. The Committee on Definitions and Procedures also serves as liaison with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Oil and Gas Assessment Team and other such organizations that are involved in the work of assessment of natural gas resources.
Committee membership consists of (1) Chair, who is appointed by the PGC President/General Chairman and approved by the Board of Directors, (2) four members of the PGC, appointed by the Chair of the Committee on Definitions and Procedures, with approval of the PGC President/General Chairman, and (3) ex officio members—PGC President/General Chairman, Director and Associate Director of the Potential Gas Agency, and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Time and Site Committee
This Committee selects and investigates prospective locations and dates for national PGC meetings that will best serve the needs of the Committee. The PGC usually convenes twice annually, in the spring and fall. Once the site and date of a future meeting have been nominated and approved, the Potential Gas Agency has the primary responsibility to complete the arrangements for the meeting. The Time and Site Committee also coordinates any regional meetings scheduled by Regional Vice Presidents in order that the dates of such meetings do not conflict.
Committee Membership consists of (1) Chair, appointed by the PGC President/General Chairman and approved by the Board of Directors, (2) three members of the Potential Gas Committee, appointed by the Chair of the Time and Site Committee and approved by the PGC President/General Chairman, and (3) ex officio members—Regional Vice Presidents, PGC President/General Chairman and Director of the Potential Gas Agency.
This group has worked on an informal basis since about 2000 but now constitutes a formal standing committee. The members currently are redesigning the official online home for the Potential Gas Committee that will serve to promote the PGC and its activities and to provide a venue for marketing the PGC’s biennial report and digital products. The present home page is accessible at https://potentialgas.org.
Communication Between Committees
The formal channel of communication is from the Area Work Committees to the Potential Gas Committee to the Potential Gas Agency and vice versa.
Members of the Potential Gas Agency, Potential Gas Committee and Area Work Committees are encouraged to publicize and explain their work to scientific and trade organizations, to the media, to the public at large and to prospective members. These efforts should be limited to explaining the methodology used, comparative methodologies and the strengths and limitations of the PGC’s assessment results. When acting as spokespersons for the Potential Gas Committee, members should refrain from interpreting study results in terms of national policy needs or required industry incentives. Members who are invited to give oral presentations and to write papers on behalf of the PGC submit texts to the Potential Gas Agency for comment and policy review.