Late last week, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released data underlying its first assessment of the Utica Shale natural gas formation.  According to the USGS’s data, the Utica Shale contains a mean estimate of 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, plus about 940 million barrels of oil and 9 million barrels of gas liquids.  This volume makes it the third largest shale deposit in the United States, trailing only the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio (estimated to hold 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas) and Wyoming’s Green River Basin (also estimated to hold 84 trillion cubic feet of gas, 82 trillion of which is “tight gas”).  The USGS’s Utica Shale assessment covered areas in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Drilling into, and production from, the Utica Shale in Ohio is just beginning.  According to the Ohio DNR’s most recent report, to date 382 horizontal wells have received drilling permits in Ohio, the majority of which are located in Carroll and Harrison counties.  However, only 144 of these wells have actually been drilled, with less than 100 in current production.  In contrast, Ohio DNR estimated earlier this year that by the end of 2012 approximately 250 wells would be drilled, with that number tripling by the end of 2013 and doubling again to 1,500 by the end of 2014.

A map of the Utica Shale gas and oil plays the USGS assessed can be found at the USGS web page for its press release, and is reproduced below:

Click here to view map.