The amount of potentially recoverable natural gas within the Utica Shale play could be 782 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) — more than 20 times more than the estimate just three years ago, just-released research projects.
The data, made public Tuesday by the Appalachian Oil and Natural gas Research Consortium at West Virginia University, also projects the amount of crude oil contained in the Utica totals nearly 2 billion barrels – more than 200% higher than the official estimate released in 2012.
“The revised resource numbers are impressive, comparable to the numbers for the more established Marcellus and a little surprising based on our Utica estimates of just a year ago, which were lower,” said Doug Patchen, director of the consortium and an acknowledged Appalachian Basin expert.
The estimates represent the average of a wider range of possibly recoverable amounts of oil and gas in the Utica, which stretches beneath parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states and includes neighboring oil- and gas-bearing geologic layers.
A 2012 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment of the Utica and underlying Point Pleasant formation placed the technically recoverable undiscovered resources at 38 Tcf of gas, 940 million barrels (MMBbl) of oil and 208 MMBbl of natural gas liquids.
The new assessment is also higher than estimates the researchers had calculated a year ago, when they determined 188.6 Tcf of natural gas and 830 MMBbl of oil could be extracted from the Utica play using existing technology. The year-old numbers also were released publicly for the first time Tuesday.
“A Geologic Play Book for Utica Shale Appalachian Basin Exploration,” is the result of a two-year study by federal, state and university researchers. The partnership organized by West Virginia University includes members from oil and gas companies, the USGS and four state geological surveys, universities, a consulting company and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
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