To help Foolish Investors better understand the oil and gas boom in the United States, we are putting together a series of articles focusing on the major energy plays in the lower 48. We'll need to rely heavily on these areas to achieve North American energy independence. Today we're going to take a look at the Utica Shale.
IntroductionThe Utica Shale is an oil and gas play that's still in its infancy, but it could hold lots of potential energy. The shale is located in the Appalachian Basin, primarily in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia, and sits under another famous shale play, the Marcellus.
Similar to the Marcellus Shale, the Utica Shale is comprised of rock pores that hold hydrocarbons like oil and gas. One difference between the two, though, is that Utica holds more "wet" natural gas, which consists of ethane, butane, propane, and pentane. Dry gas consists primarily of methane. The Utica Shale is also deeper than Marcellus, ranging from 2,000 feet at the outer fringes of the shale, to over 14,000 feet near the core. Much of the wet gas is found in the outer regions of the shale, usually with depths of about 6,000 feet or less.