• 4 minutes China 2019 - Orwell was 35 years out
  • 7 minutes Wonders of US Shale: US Shale Benefits: The U.S. leads global petroleum and natural gas production with record growth in 2018
  • 11 minutes Trump will capitulate on the trade war
  • 14 minutes Glory to Hong Kong
  • 2 hours Yesterday Angela Merkel stopped Trump technology war on China – the moral of the story is do not eavesdrop on ladies with high ethical standards
  • 18 mins China's Blueprint For Global Power
  • 5 hours IMO 2020:
  • 7 hours World Stocks Drop And Futures Tread Water After China Reports Worst GDP Growth In 30 Years
  • 14 hours National Geographic Warns Billions Face Shortages Of Food And Clean Water Over Next 30 Years
  • 11 hours Why did Aramco Delay IPO again ? It's Not Always What It Seems.
  • 15 hours ABC of Brexit, economy wise, where to find sites, links to articles ?
  • 15 hours Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, Ukraine Oil & Gas exploration company Burisma, and 2020 U.S. election shenanigans
  • 7 hours Deepwater GOM Project Claims Industry First
  • 17 hours Why don't the other GOP candidates get mention?
  • 17 hours Bloomberg: shale slowing. Third wave of shale coming.
  • 16 hours PETROLEUM for humanity 
Alt Text

Is The U.S. Gas Boom Already Over?

As natural gas prices continue…

Alt Text

It’s “Feast-to-Famine” For The Global Gas Industry

Oversupply and high stockpiles have…

Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

More Info

Premium Content

New Update for U.S. Natural Gas Supplies in the Marcellus Shale Formation

The Marcellus Shale formation that extends across eight U.S. states has a new estimate out from the US Geological Survey (USGS).  The new estimate of the reserve was increased from 42 times to 72 times from the previous assessment done in 2002.  Nine years will change a perspective.

Before looking into this, keep in mind we’re looking through the work of the USGS, a department of the federal government.  As others have noted elsewhere the reliability of these kinds of things isn’t very high, rather they serve as pretty good guides over time on the resource availability by quantity.  What’s to be seen in the report is there’s lots more geology data now, much more production experience, and a considerable extension of the infrastructure to deliver natural gas from the gas fields to consumers.

Marcellus Shale within the Appalachian Basin
Marcellus Shale within the Appalachian Basin.

The latest USGS assessment is an estimate of continuous gas and natural gas liquid accumulations in the Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale of the Appalachian Basin. The estimate of undiscovered natural gas ranges from 43.0 trillion cubic feet, a 95% probability to 144.1 TCF, 5 percent probability.  The estimate of natural gas liquids such as propane or liquid petroleum gas, ranges from 1.6 billion barrels at 95% probability to 6.2 billion barrels at 5 percent probability.

The oil industry can be said to have been born in the Eastern U.S.  Drake’s famous well was drilled in western Pennsylvania and since the 1930s almost every well drilled through the Marcellus shale found noticeable quantities of natural gas. By 2004 engineers reflecting on the Marcellus shale concluded the formation was a potential reservoir rock, instead of just a regional source rock, meaning that the gas could be produced from it instead of just being a source for the gas.

Technological improvements, most notably horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of the shale rocks resulted in commercially viable gas production and the rapid development of a major, new continuous natural gas and natural gas liquids boom in the Appalachian Basin, the oldest producing petroleum province in the U.S.

Keep in mind, there’s no conventional oil type petroleum resources assessed in the Marcellus Shale of the Appalachian Basin.

The USGS bases its new update in undiscovered, technically recoverable resource due to new geologic information and engineering data, with significant technological developments in producing unconventional resources in the last decade.

The USGS qualifies the assessed estimates for technically recoverable oil and gas resources meaning those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices.  No adjustment or projection is included regarding economic or accessibility considerations. So the estimates include resources beneath both onshore and offshore areas (such as under Lake Erie) and beneath areas where accessibility may be limited by policy and regulations imposed by land managers and regulatory agencies. That’s a fair warning to consumers and industry that they’re on their own for keeping reserves available in the face of opposition from both those well justified and those frivolous and emotionally driven.

The USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. In this assessment the USGS worked with the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, the Ohio Geological Survey, and representatives from the oil and gas industry and academia to develop an improved geologic understanding of the Marcellus Shale. The USGS Marcellus Shale assessment was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.  Applied nationwide the new technique should firm up realistic expectations.

The other side is those states; Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are going to see a new economic foundation built into their economies – a very welcome event – if they can keep political control and the exploration and development going.

There will be a lot of jobs, wealth and investment made in these states – if they can keep the anti energy lobbies from wrecking their future. Keep it going and the next assessment may very likely increase the reserve estimate again.

By. Brian Westenhaus

Source: Update of Natural Gas in the Eastern US




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on August 29 2011 said:
    How can you possibly consider hydraulic fracturing an "improvement"? What is being "wrecked" is the land, the water, and the property value of thousands of Americans. We are not "anti-energy," we are "pro-health."Hydro fracking is a form of suicide for our nation and for humanity.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play