Study Suggests Utica Shale Holds 20 Times More Recoverable Gas Than Previously Thought


A study released Tuesday, July 14, at a workshop in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, shows there may be 20 times more recoverable natural gas in the Utica Shale and surrounding hydrocarbon-rich formations than previously thought.


While a 2012 study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be extracted from the Utica Shale reservoir using existing technology, Tuesday’s study puts that number at 782 Tcf.


The two-year study and ensuing report called the Utica Shale Play Book Study, was produced by the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Consortium housed at West Virginia University’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy.


The consortium’s director and study co-author Doug Patchen said the revised estimate puts the Utica Shale play on par with the more explored and well-known Marcellus Shale formation.


“The technically recoverable resource could be very comparable. And the acreage of the Utica play physically could be a little bit bigger geographically, if it’s all drilled off, if it all proves to be productive,” Patchen said.


The Consortium

According to a WVU press release, the consortium’s members are the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy, Washington University, the Kentucky Geological Survey, the Ohio Geological Survey, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, Smith Stratigraphic and the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory.


The consortium was sponsored by Anadarko, Chevron, CNX, ConocoPhillips, Devon, EnerVest, EOG Resources, EQT, Hess, NETL Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil, Range Resources, Seneca Resources, Shell, Southwestern Energy and Tracker Resources.


Patchen said the study was first released to those companies a year ago and kept confidential. It was released publicly for the first time Tuesday. 


The Utica Shale formation spans five states, including northern West Virginia, part of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, western Ohio and New York, and runs between 4,000 and 6,500 feet below the Marcellus Shale formation. 


Click here to download a full copy of the study.