Utica Shale Update, SW Pennsylvania. Discovery Thinking talk given by Bill Zagorski at AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in Houston, Texas on 3 April 2017.
The Utica-Point Pleasant play has grown rapidly since horizontal discovery and commercialization in PA (2010) and Ohio (2011) with current
production of approximately 5 BCFE/d and an active rig count of 25 as of early 2017. The U.S. portion of the play covers a large extent within
the Appalachian Basin, including parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. While modern horizontal drilling is focused on the organic-rich Point Pleasant Member in Eastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania, a long history of
testing and development can be traced back to
several key attempts to commercialize the play in both the US and Canadian portions of the Appalachian Basin beginning in 1858 in Ontario
and in 1888 in northern New York. Early industry focus of the modern horizontal play was in the wet-gas and oil windows, as some touted the
liquids content and possible similarity of the Utica-Point Pleasant to the evolving Eagle Ford oil play of Texas. However, current activity trends
are focusing deeper and deeper into the
highly over-pressured dry gas portions of the play. Key productivity drivers for the play include pore
pressure gradient, depth, thermal maturity, TOC content, porosity & permeability, frac containment, gas in place, facies changes in key
reservoir targets, and the regional influence of basement faulting. Although significant evolution and understanding of the play has been
achieved since modern commercialization, many concepts and drivers have yet to be completely understood. Play extents are not
realized and future growth potential remains quite significant.