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in the US and Canada

History of Shale Gas Plays

The first commercial gas well in the US was completed in New York's Dunkirk Shale in 1821. Estimates indicate that over 28,000 shale-gas wells have been drilled in the United States since then.

The first Barnett Shale gas production by Mitchell Energy & Development Corp took place in the Fort Worth Basin in 1981. Until the Barnett Shale successes, it was believed that natural fractures had to be present in gas shale. A low-permeability gas-shale play is presently viewed as a technological play. Advances in micro-seismic fracture mapping, 3D seismic, horizontal drilling, fracture stimulation and multiple frac stages, have all contributed to successful gas shale wells, however, low commodity prices became a serious problem in 2015 for oil and gas producers.

By the early 2000ís the main gas shale plays to that point had been: Antrim Shale in the northern Michigan Basin; Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin, Texas; Lewis Shale in the San Juan Basin; New Albany Shale in the Illinois Basin; and the Ohio Shale in the Appalachian Basin. More recent gas shale plays include the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma; Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas; Haynesville Shale in Louisiana; Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin; Utica Shale in New York; and Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. There are 57 United States and Canadian gas-shale plays listed below.

Marcellus and Utica Shale plays map

In early 2011, the latest exploration 'buzz' around New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia concerns the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.


Gas Shales
United States
& Canada (in green)

Antrim Shale Late Devonian Michigan Basin, Michigan
Baxter Shale Late Cretaceous Vermillion Basin, Colorado, Wyoming
Barnett Shale Mississippian Fort Worth and Permian basins, Texas
Bend Shale Pennsylvanian Palo Duro Basin, Texas
Cane Creek Shale Pennsylvanian Paradox Basin, Utah
Caney Shale Mississippian Arkoma Basin, Oklahoma
Chattanooga Shale Late Devonian Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee
Chimney Rock Shale Pennsylvanian Paradox Basin, Colorado, Utah
Cleveland Shale Devonian Eastern Kentucky
Clinton Shale Early Silurian Eastern Kentucky
Cody Shale Cretaceous Montana
Colorado Shale Cretaceous Central Alberta, Saskatchewan
Conasauga Shale Middle Cambrian Black Warrior Basin, Alabama
Dunkirk Shale Upper Devonian Western New York
Duvernay Shale Late Devonian West central Alberta
Eagleford Shale Late Cretaceous Maverick Basin, Texas
Ellsworth Shale Late Devonian Michigan Basin, Michigan
Excello Shale Pennsylvanian Kansas, Oklahoma
Exshaw Shale Devonian-Mississippian Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Fayetteville Shale Mississippian Arkoma Basin, Arkansas
Fernie Shale Jurassic West central Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Floyd/Neal Shale Late Mississippian Black Warrior Basin, Alabama, Mississippi
Frederick Brook Shale Mississippian New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Gammon Shale Late Cretaceous Williston Basin, Montana
Gordondale Shale Early Jurassic Northeast British Columbia
Gothic Shale Pennsylvanian Paradox Basin, Colorado, Utah
Green River Shale Eocene Colorado, Utah
Haynesville/Bossier Shale Late Jurassic Louisiana, east Texas
Horn River Shale Middle Devonian Northeast British Columbia
Horton Bluff Shale Early Mississippian Nova Scotia
Hovenweep Shale Pennsylvanian Paradox Basin, Colorado, Utah
Huron Shale Devonian Part of Ohio Shale; east Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia
Klua/Evie Shale Middle Devonian Northeast British Columbia
Lewis Shale Late Cretaceous Colorado, New Mexico
Mancos Shale Cretaceous San Juan Basin, New Mexico, Uinta Basin, Utah
Manning Canyon Shale Mississippian Central Utah
Marcellus Shale Devonian New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
McClure Shale Miocene San Joaquin Basin, California
Monterey Shale Miocene Santa Maria Basin, California
Montney-Doig Shale Triassic Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Moorefield Shale Mississippian Arkoma Basin, Arkansas
Mowry Shale Cretaceous Bighorn and Powder River basins, Wyoming
Muskwa Shale Late Devonian Northeast British Columbia
New Albany Shale Devonian-Mississippian Illinois Basin, Illinois, Indiana
Niobrara Shale Late Cretaceous Denver Basin, Colorado
Nordegg/Gordondale Shale Late Jurassic Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Ohio Shale Devonian East Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia
Pearsall Shale Cretaceous Maverick Basin, Texas
Percha Shale Devonian-Mississippian West Texas
Pierre Shale Cretaceous Raton Basin, Colorado
Poker Chip Shale Jurassic West central Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Queenston Shale Ordovician New York
Rhinestreet Shale Devonian Appalachian Basin
Second White Speckled Shale Late Cretaceous Southern Alberta
Sunbury Shale Mississippian Appalachian Basin
Utica Shale Ordovician New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Quebec
Wilrich/Buckinghorse/ Garbutt/Moosebar Shale Early Cretaceous West central Alberta, northeast British Columbia
Woodford Shale Late Devonian-Early Mississippian Oklahoma, Texas





Geologic Time Scale (off site)
Cretaceous 71 - 145
Jurassic 151 - 200
Triassic 204 - 251
Permian 254 - 299
Pennsylvanian 304 - 318
Mississippian 326 - 359
Devonian 374 - 416
Silurian 419 - 444
Ordovician 446 - 488
Cambrian 496 - 542


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