How much gas is in the Marcellus Shale?

According to the USGS assessment, the Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids.

 

Undiscovered resources are those that are estimated to exist based on geologic knowledge and theory, while technically recoverable resources are those that can be produced using currently available technology and industry practices. Whether or not it is profitable to produce these resources has not been evaluated.

 

The Marcellus Shale assessment covered areas in Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Why is the USGS resource assessment for Marcellus Shale so low, compared to the Energy Information Administration and the petroleum industry’s assessments?

This question cannot be answered clearly because the methods used by those organizations to estimate resource volumes are not publically available to compare step-by-step. The USGS does not include previously discovered reserves in its estimates. It also does not include reserves that have already been produced. Nor does it

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What is the difference between assessed “resources” and “reserves”? Why doesn’t the USGS assess both?

RESERVES are quantities of oil and gas that are already discovered, recoverable, and commercial.

The USGS assesses UNDISCOVERED RESOURCES, which are those that are estimated to exist based on geologic knowledge and theory.

The USGS does not assess reserves because some of the data needed to make those

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When will the full USGS study of the Marcellus shale gas be available?

The USGS publishes its oil and gas resource assessments on the Energy Resources Program web site as soon as they are completed, peer reviewed by scientists knowledgeable about the subject, and formatted for publication. Two geological reports on the Marcellus have been released and are

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What are the different columns on a USGS oil and gas resource assessment table?

The USGS uses a statistically-based process to calculate the likely range of its estimate. The range of values extends from a 5% or greater likelihood of occurrence (the F5 value, or largest estimated value) to less than 95% likelihood of occurrence (the F95 value, or smallest estimated value). 

The F50 column is the

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Date published: March 25, 2015

Appalachian Basin Energy Resources — A New Look at an Old Basin

Appalachian coal and petroleum resources are still available in sufficient quantities to contribute significantly to fulfilling the nation’s energy needs, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: June 20, 2012

USGS Releases Unconventional Gas Estimates for Five East Coast Basins

Using a geology-based assessment method, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean undiscovered natural gas resource of 3.9 trillion cubic feet and a mean undiscovered natural gas liquids resource of 135 million barrels in continuous accumulations within five East Coast Mesozoic basins, according to a new USGS report.  

Date published: August 23, 2011

USGS Releases New Assessment of Gas Resources in the Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin

The Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids according to a new assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

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Image: Marcellus Shale Drill Rig
March 14, 2016

A drill rig at a well site in the Marcellus Shale gas play of southwestern Pennsylvania.

(grey-colored rock) Cherry Valley shale
March 5, 2015

Exposure of the Marcellus shale in central New York showing the Cherry Valley limestone (grey-colored rock) between the Union Springs and Oatka Creek shales of the Marcellus.

Marcellus assessment units

Map of the Appalachian Basin Province showing the three Marcellus Shale assessment units, which encompass the extent of the Middle Devonian from its zero isopach edge in the west to its erosional truncation within the Appalachian fold and thrust belt in the east.

Image: Marcellus Shale Outcrop in Highland County, Virginia

A Marcellus Shale outcrop in Highland County, Virginia, shows at the surface the object of shale gas development drilling in nearby states. Assessing undiscovered gas resources, like the USGS 2011 assessment of the Marcellus Shale, uses geologic mapping of outcrops like this in addition to extensive drilling, production, and geophysical data.

Marcellus Shale Storage Tanks

Storage tanks for produced water from natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale gas play of western Pennsylvania.