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Utica Shale
The 'Older Brother' of Marcellus Shale

Throughout the early years of Marcellus Shale development, there were rumblings of 'deeper oil and gas reserves' below the Marcellus layer. People heard talk of the Trenton Black River, yet by 2012, most of the rumblings had turned almost exclusively to the Utica Shale. The Utica is approximately 70-million-years older than the Marcellus; 400 million years old vs. 470 million years old, as we see on the shale gas plays page.

 

In early October 2012, the United States Geological Service (USGS) released its first assessment of the amount of shale gas resources in the Utica Shale, along with a map showing the location of oil and gas assessment units (AU) in the Appalachian Basin. USGS estimates the Utica Shale contains 38 TCF of natural gas, 940 MMB of oil and 9 MMB of natural gas liquids. Those numbers mean: 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil and 9 million barrels of natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane.

Shale drilling in Monroe County
 
 
Scio Ohio midstream fractionation plant
Scio Ohio midstream fractionation plant
construction In Harrison County
 
 
Monroe County
 
As prices for 'dry' natural gas (methane) fell in excess of 75% from the early Marcellus Shale production years, the location and value of 'wet' gas liquids came more into focus for exploration and production (E&P) companies who wished to remain profitable. Some E&P companies indicated they could not continue to produce dry natural gas if the price remained at 2012 levels (under $3.00). These low prices created a new leasing focus and production move from dry areas of the Marcellus Shale to the wetter areas, primarily around the tri-state area of southwestern Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and the panhandle of West Virginia. Eastern Ohio was the focal point for most Utica Shale 'buzz' in 2012.
 

UTICA SHALE MAP

Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS


 

Drilling Utica Shale

 
 


Utica Shale gas processing - Natrium, WV

 
 

Utica Shale well spacing

 
 

Hickory Bend Cryogenic Processing Plant in Springfield Township Mahoning County Ohio

 
 

New Gas Pipeline in Ohio

 
 
Indeed, the expanding play for more valuable natural gas liquids has revealed itself in the plans of many oil and gas companies, midstream companies and pipeliners, with talk and construction of ethane crackers, cryogenic plants, and pipelines to move gas liquids out of the Marcellus and Utica Shale area to the Philadelphia port, Gulf Coast and southern Canada.
 

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