Part of the mission of the Energy Resources Program of the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) is to determine the location, quantity, and quality of U.S. mineral and energy resources. In pursuit of that mission, the USGS recently conducted a survey of the potential of the Utica shale across the Appalachian Basin.
The results of the USGS survey are summarized in its report, Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Ordovician Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2012, recently published on the USGS website.
The USGS concluded that Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia are all in the Utica shale play. The survey also makes some rather eye-popping findings about the potential of the Utica shale in Ohio. The survey found that based on certain observed characteristics of the Utica shale and assumptions grounded in observations in other shale plays, Ohio is in an oil “sweet spot.” The USGS actually defined both an oil sweet spot and a gas sweet spot in the Utica shale play as shown on the following map*:
*Kirschbaum, M.A., Schenk, C.J., Cook, T.A., Ryder, R.T., Charpentier, R.R., Klett, T.R., Gaswirth, S.B., Tennyson, M.E., and Whidden, K.J., 2012, Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Ordovician Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin Province, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3116, 6 p., Figure 4.
The USGS survey projected the mean “technically recoverable continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources” from the Utica and Point Pleasant shale …