New Study Reveals Utica Shale Holds Gigantic Natural Gas Deposits
A new study from West Virginia University (WVU) reveals that the amount of resources stored within the Utica Shale play is significantly larger than previously estimated, signaling huge news for the U.S. oil and gas industry.
According to a July 14 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, the study estimates that the total Utica Shale play could hold recoverable volumes as large as 782 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and nearly 2 billion barrels of crude oil.
Previous estimates of the Utica Shale, which stretches beneath parts of New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, held that the shale play only offered 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 940 million barrels of oil.
“The revised resource numbers are impressive, comparable to the numbers for the more established Marcellus shale play, and a little surprising based on our Utica estimates of just a year ago which were lower,” said Douglas Patchen, director of the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium, the WVU program that conducted the study.
Currently, shale production rigs are some of the most active in the nation. The Energy Information Administration has estimated that by 2035, shale gas output will reach 13.6 trillion cubic feet — nearly half the country’s natural gas production. With these new findings regarding the Utica Shale, however, it’s likely these figures will need to be revised.
The WVU findings are also a good sign for oil producers. With global proved oil reserves rising by 27% — or by more than 350 million barrels — over the last 10 years, meeting an estimated 53.3 more years of production rigs drilling, there’s plenty of oil reserves remaining for those who work in this industry.
Ultimately, it’s entirely possible that the Utica Shale could now confidently hold the title of the largest single accumulation of natural gas beneath a single rock formation in the world.
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