Natural Gas Cliff
Big Gav points to a Reuters article quoting the biggest "put the best face forward" big oil spokesman, CEO Lee Raymond of Exxon/Mobil, who realistically admits "Gas production has peaked in North America".
The USA has gone over a peak once before, specifically pertaining to oil production in the early 70's. However, because of the long tails of oil depletion, e.g. stripper wells producing for years beyond their prime, we can't necessarily depend on the smooth glide path of the last 30 years. (smooth glide path? yes, see the following quote)
North American natural gas production is about to go over a cliff, decades before the world peak of natural gas production. Since gas flows through porosities in rock much more easily than oil, gas fields can be drained much faster than oil fields. For this reason, and since most known gas fields in North America are connected to a common network of pipelines, the exhaustion of individual gas fields is masked until the totality of fields cannot meet demand. Since most of the gas fields in North America were discovered and came under exploitation decades ago, the whole North American gas supply will be only a few years from complete exhaustion when the first shortages are encountered. The cliff is very close, as you can see from the following graph of time-shifted discoveries (source: Forecasting future production from past discovery). The red curve is not in itself a prediction. It is the graph of past discoveries shifted to the right by 20 years--a shift chosen to give a good fit with production history. Gas must be discovered before it can be produced. Applying this basic truth allows us to conclude that North America approaches a gas production cliff.
We should ask a New Zealander how falling off a cliff felt.