The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the Utica Shale in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states could hold up to 38 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil, and perhaps 9 million barrels of natural gas liquids like propane.
The Utica lies below the similarly well-known Marcellus Shale, which is already proving to be one of the richest natural gas reserves in the world. Pennsylvania and Ohio feature 452 Utica drilling permits so far, and just 178 wells have been drilled.
It should be noted that such survey estimates can vary greatly; the USGS estimated in 2002 that the Marcellus held just 2 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas. Last year, that was revised to 84 trillion.
From the Washington Times:
“As more [Utica] wells are drilled and more production data is assessed, reserves figures will likely increase,” said Steve Ford, vice president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a drilling industry trade group. He hailed the Utica as “another game-changing opportunity.”
This is all good news, as fracking—which remains a controversial issue—continues to exploit these reserves to great effect. Some of the largest companies involved in the Utica Shale production efforts are Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Shell (RDS.A), and Consol Energy (NYSE: CNX).