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Colorado’s Mancos Shale Gas Formation To Contain Much More Gas Than Thought

Natgas storage facility

Colorado’s Mancos formation has just received new estimates that says it contains significantly more shale natural gas than previous estimates foretold, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The new USGS assessment indicates that the Mancos formation, located in the Piceance Basin, is second only to the Marcellus formation in terms of potential energy. The Marcellus formation is considered to be the main force behind U.S. gas production.

The Mancos formation is now said to be home to an estimated 66 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas, 74 million barrels of shale oil and 45 million barrels of natural gas liquids—all of which may well be recoverable.

Those estimates are contained in the latest assessment by the U.S. Geological survey. A previous assessment, constructed in 2003, said that there was approximately 1.6 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

Sarah Hawkins, the lead author of the latest assessment said that new data is part of an effort to reassess U.S. oil and gas accumulations. She notes that drilling in the Mancos formation helped to uncover the presence of new energy sources.

Some 2000 wells were drilled in the Piceance since 2003, and the USGS drilled its own research well in the area. The upshot of the findings is that while it was known that the Mancos formation contains a substantial amount of untapped energy, the drilling and research have led to a significant revision of the estimates.

Related: Is Colorado Ground Zero For The Next Shale Gas Boom?

David Ludlam, the executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, commented that the latest estimate helps to solidify the Piceance Basin’s position as a “global natural gas provider for decades to come.”

In the last decade, a boom in shale production drove gas prices to a 17-year low in March. But on Thursday, gas reached a nine-month settlement high of $2.617 btu/mm. The boost was spurred in part by warmer weather, which has raised the cooling demand. Overall, prices remain below the required levels to increase drilling.

By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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