The U.S. Geological Survey has discovered that the Utica Shale contains about 38 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas. The Utica Shale has a mean of 940 million barrels of unconventional oil resources and a mean of 208 million barrels of unconventional natural gas liquids.
Although this is a significant amount of gas, it can’t quite compare to Marcellus Shale, which is situated above Utica. Marcellus is the largest-producing petroleum province in the United States, and at 84 trillion cubic feet it is the largest unconventional gas basin USGS has assessed.
For now Marcellus Shale is the current drilling target for natural gas, but when the yield of its wells start to decline there will be more gas below in Utica. The difference is that tt will be more expensive and difficult getting to that gas because of the thousands of additional feet it will take in drilling to reach it.
Still … Utica is impressive and any information or statistics learned about shale plays in the U.S. can only make us better informed consumers in the natural gas boom.
“Understanding our domestic oil and gas resource potential is important, which is why we assess emerging plays like the Utica, as well as areas that have been in production for some time” said Brenda Pierce, USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator. “Publicly available information about undiscovered oil and gas resources can aid policy makers and resource managers, and inform the debate about resource development.”
The Utica Shale assessment covered areas in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The new assessment of the Utica Shale may be found here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2012/3116/.