Utica Shale

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{{#badges: FrackSwarm|Navbar-fracking}} The Utica Shale is a stratigraphical unit of Middle Ordovician age in the Appalachian Basin. It underlies much of the northeastern United States and adjacent parts of Canada. It takes the name from the city of Utica, New York.


Drilling and producing from the Utica Shale began in 2006 in Quebec, focusing on an area south of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City. Interest has grown in the region since Denver-based Forest Oil Corp. announced a significant discovery there after testing two vertical wells. Forest Oil said its Quebec assets may hold as much as four trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, and that the Utica shale has similar rock properties to the Barnett shale in Texas.

Forest Oil, which has several junior partners in the region, has drilled both vertical and horizontal wells. Calgary-based Talisman Energy has drilled five vertical Utica wells, and began drilling two horizontal Utica wells in late 2009 with its partner Questerre Energy, which holds under lease more than 1 million gross acres of land in the region. Other companies in the play are Quebec-based Gastem and Calgary-based Canbriam Energy.

The Utica Shale in Quebec potentially holds 4×1012 cu ft (110×109 m3) at production rates of 1×106 cu ft (28,000 m3) per day[1][2] From 2006 through 2009 24 wells, both vertical and horizontal, were drilled to test the Utica. Positive gas flow test results were reported, although none of the wells were producing at the end of 2009.[3] Gastem, one of the Utica shale producers, took its Utica Shale expertise to drill across the border in New York state.[4]

The Province of Quebec imposed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in March 2012.[5]


Resource size

The US Energy Information Administration estimated in 2012 that the Utica Shale in the US held 15.7 trillion cubic feet of unproved, technically recoverable gas. The average well was estimated to produce 1.13 billion cubic feet of gas.[6] The same year, the US Geological survey estimated that the Utica Shale had 38.2 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas, 940 million barrels of oil, and 208 million barrels of natural gas liquids.[7]

New York

In October 2009, the Canadian company Gastem, which has been drilling gas wells into the Ordivicia Utica Shale in Quebec, drilled the first of its three state-permitted Utica Shale wells in New York. The first well drilled was in Otsego County, New York.[8]


Utica Shale drilling and production began in Ohio in 2011. Ohio as of 2013 is becoming a large natural gas and oil producer from the Utica Shale in the eastern part of the state,[9][10] with 2011 drilling and permits for drilling in the Utica Shale in Ohio reaching record highs.[11] Although the prospective Utica area extends into Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as of 2013, most activity has been in Ohio, because the Ohio portion is believed to be richer in oil, condensate, and natural gas liquids.[12][13]

Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon launched American Energy Partners LP, which landed roughly $1.7 billion in financing in October 2013. Most of the funds are expected to be channeled through subsidiary American Energy-Utica LLC to pick up acreage in Ohio's Utica Shale. The Energy & Minerals Group is the lead equity investor in the company's Utica offshoot.[14]

Water usage

The U.S. Geological Survey states that the Utica Shale formation in Ohio uses more water than any other oil formation in the country. Each well uses approximately 5.1 million gallons of water per frack.[15]



  1. Forest Oil Corporation - Press Releases and Notices
  2. Press release > Investors > Junex
  3. Susan R. Eaton, "Shale play extends to Canada," AAPG Explorer, January 2010, p.10-24.
  4. "New York to get Utica shale exploration" (2008-03-24). Oil & Gas Journal 106 (12). PennWell Corporation. Retrieved on 2009-07-07. 
  5. Quebec installs outright moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, International Business Times, 4 April 2012.
  6. US Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy outlook 2012, accessed 14 Sept. 2013.
  7. US Geological Survey, Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Ordovician Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2012, Fact Sheet 2012-3116, Sept. 2012.
  8. Tom Grace, "Officials positive following gas-well tour," Oneonta Daily Star, 7 October 2009.
  9. Utica Shale Oil Discovery In Ohio, News And Maps, Utica Shale News and Maps
  10. OhioDNR.gov. Ohio Oil and Natural Gas Well and Shale Development Resources. Retrieved on 2012-05-05.
  11. Gerino, Dan. "‘Fracking’ permits booming". 
  12. uticashalemaps.com. Map of Ohio Utica drilling permits and activity by date. Retrieved on 2012-05-05.
  13. Ohio.gov Database. Marcellus and Utica Shale Data. Retrieved on 2011-03-08.
  14. "McClendon's new venture nets $1.7B in funding," E&E, October 10, 2013.
  15. "Utica fracking wells among country's highest water users" Tom Knox, Columbus Business First, July 1, 2015.

Related SourceWatch articles

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