USGA: Marcellus Even More Promising Than Thought
The Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Marcellus Shale assessment covered areas in Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. These figures are significantly higher than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. The increase is due to new geologic information and engineering data, as technological developments in producing unconventional resources have been significant in the last decade, say officials.
Since the 1930s, almost every well drilled through the Marcellus found noticeable quantities of natural gas. However, in late 2004, the Marcellus was recognized as a potential reservoir rock instead of just a regional source rock. Technological improvements have enabled commercially viable gas production and the rapid development of a major, new continuous natural gas and natural gas liquids play in the Appalachian Basin.
These new estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations. As such, these estimates include resources beneath both onshore and offshore areas (such as Lake Erie) and beneath areas where accessibility may be limited by policy and regulations imposed by land managers and regulatory agencies.
“This news provides additional evidence of how promising of a source the Marcellus Shale is for our nation’s energy supply,” says Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. “It is absolutely critical to the competitiveness of manufacturers that they have access to affordable sources of energy. Adding burdensome and unnecessary regulations to the shale industry will only drive up the costs and add bureaucratic red tape with little benefit.”