Super Giant Field in the Appalachians?
A few years ago every geologist
involved in Appalachian Basin oil and gas
knew about the Devonian black shale called the Marcellus. Its black color made it easy to spot in the field and its slightly radioactive signature made it a very easy pick on a geophysical well log.
However, very few of these geologists were excited about the Marcellus Shale as a major source of natural gas
. Wells drilled through it produced some gas but rarely in enormous quantity. Few if any in the natural gas industry suspected that the Marcellus might soon be a major contributor to the natural gas supply of the United States - large enough to be spoken of as a "super giant" gas field.
Recent Surprise Estimates
In early 2008, Terry Englander, a geoscience professor at Pennsylvania State University, and Gary Lash, a geology professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, surprised everyone with estimates that the Marcellus might contain more than 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Using some of the same horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods that had previously been applied in the Barnett Shale of Texas, perhaps 10% of that gas (50 trillion cubic feet) might be recoverable. That volume of natural gas would be enough to supply the entire United States for about two years and have a wellhead value of about one trillion dollars
Horizontal Drilling to Penetrate More Fractures
The fractures (also known as "joints") in the Marcellus Shale are vertical. So, a vertical borehole would be expected to intersect very few of them. However, a horizontal well, drilled perpendicular to the most common fracture orientation should intersect a maximum number of fractures.
The diagram to the right illustrates the concept of a horizontal well. High yield wells in the Marcellus Shale have been built using the horizontal drilling technique. Some horizontal wells in the Marcellus Shale have initial flows that suggest that they are capable of yielding millions of cubic feet of gas per day, making them some of the most productive gas wells in the eastern United States.
The Utica is Canada’s newest shale play and has relatively few players. The Utica shale gas play covers an area of approximately 5,000 square kilometers and runs along Quebec Canada’s St. Lawrence River shoreline in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The heart of the Utica Shale trend in Quebec is massive, bounded by the Yamaska Fault to the north-east, which roughly follows the St. Lawrence river through this area, and the Logans Line fault system to the south-west. The play’s Fairway extends along the St. Lawrence from roughly Montreal to Quebec City covering an area of over 1.1 million acres or roughly 2,400 square miles. Drilling depths vary from 800 to 2,500 meters with shale thickness ranging between 75 and 300 meters.
Industry experts peg total recoverable resources from 5 to 25 trillion cubic feet (TCF).
Gastem, v.GMR is the one company with fantastic properties on both the Utica Shale and Marcellus Shale. Currently way undervalued and poised to have a fantastic 2011 !
To see a fantastic video on natural gas horizontal shale drilling, just click below and scroll down.