Most of the Utica Shale Lies BENEATH the Marcellus

Most of the Utica Shale Lies BENEATH the Marcellus
Most of the Utica Shale Lies BENEATH the Marcellus

To date most of the attention has been focused on development of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania while exploration of the Utica Shale has been limited to Ohio. What is not generally realized is that the Utica Shale is actually a much larger formation lying mostly BENEATH the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and the far western portion of Maryland.

The map shows the overlap. It is a little hard to read because you automatically assume that blue indicates a body of water. In this case, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Atlantic Ocean are indicated in gray. The blue strip at the top stretching across Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York is the portion of the Utica that does NOT lie beneath the Marcellus. (Some of it is indeed underwater in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.) Those small portions of the Marcellus where the Utica does NOT lie underneath are represented in orange, in West Virginia and a small portion of Pennsylvania. There are also slim strips of the Utica that extend beyond the eastern edge of the Marcellus in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and even the northwest corner of New Jersey. The eastern border of both formations is formed by the Appalachian Chain.

Thus all the green area in the middle is the region where the Utica Shale lies BENEATH the Marcellus. It is huge.

The National Geological Survey estimates that the Marcellus contains 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The US consumes 24 tcf annually. The estimates for the Utica are 38 tcf of natural gas PLUS 940 million barrels of oil and 9 millions barrels of natural gas liquids, ethane and propane. The 940 mbd, of course, would only supply the country for 60 days, since we consume 18 mbd.

When drillers in Pennsylvania finish fracking the Marcellus they will only have to drill a little deeper to begin tapping the Utica.

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