Utica Shale May Be Even Richer Than USGS Estimates Suggest

From Crain's Cleveland Business:
If you are keeping up on the industry, let’s not miss what you may have already read in the standard media coverage. The USGS estimated a total mean recoverable reserve in the Utica of 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil and 208 million barrels of natural gas liquids. A tremendous amount of energy reserves right here under our feet in Ohio and the surrounding region — and a significant shale play by any account.

One of the first things I find interesting; geologists are a conservative bunch who don’t want to overestimate their work. 

In 2002, the USGS released its first mean recoverable estimate of the Marcellus Shale play showing 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10 million barrels of natural gas liquids. In 2011, with a lot more known about the Marcellus and new drilling techniques perfected, the USGS increased their estimates to 84 trillion cubic feet of gas and 3.4 billion barrels of liquids that might be recovered — an astounding jump.

I am not going to leap to some ridiculous conclusion and try to apply a factor of ‘40x’ to the Utica numbers, but I am willing to “peek under the sheets” a bit and look at some of the other numbers in the just released report.

Most observers have been focused on the mean of the recoverable estimates. For a moment, let’s look at the high-end of the spectrum at what is called the ‘F5’ or the number that represents a 5% likelihood of return. (The low-end estimate is called the ‘F95’ as in a 95% likelihood of return.) At the high end, we could be looking at nearly 61 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 1.4 billion barrels of oil and 398 million barrels of natural gas liquids. Significantly higher . . . and possible.
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