Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Roll over Marcellus, the Utica is tomorrow's gas news

The Marcellus Shale, the bodacious layer of natural gas below New York and Pennsylvania that has gas drillers salivating over potential yields--and earnings--may be yesterday's news.

The new pretender to the gas-profits throne is the Utica. Yes, the Utica.

It weighs in, on average, at 2,000 feet below the Marcellus formation, is 500 feet thick in places, and, formed some 440 million to 460 million year ago, is even older than Larry King.

Is it too deep to be commercially viable? No way, says Penn State University Geosciences Professor Terry Engelder, who notes that drillers using the same technology are pulling natural gas from the the Haynesville formation in Louisiana at depths as deep as 13,000 feet.

Some geologists estimate the Marcellus formation has 50 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, enough to supply the East Coast for 50 years. Imagine the implications if the Utica proves anywhere near as bountiful.

Kim Leonard has the promising Utica Shale story in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Drillers set sights on shale reserve deeper than the Marcellus

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