MORRISTOWN, Ohio - Deep within the western Belmont County area known as Egypt Valley lurks a "monster" that is producing as much as 28.5 million cubic feet of Utica Shale natural gas per day.
They forgot this point on the map.
Yeah - I can appreciate all of the comments past and present with regard to these ODNR maps though it does make me curious when I see this new data point pop up and I wonder upon what is the information is based?
Before you go condemning the ODNR, consider that they can only use data they are allowed to publish and the investor presentations are another interpretation based on considerably more proprietary data. There are likely legal considerations that do not permit its publication by the state. Of course we are not subject to any restrictions and can draw our own conclusions based on what the investor presentations allow us to see, which is also not likely to be a complete picture. The ODNR maps clearly show a lack of data points in the SE Ohio area we are all concerned about. Depending on one's point of view and how much weight one gives to presentations designed to encourage investment, we can assume the true picture is probably more optimistic than the ODNR publication and possibly less rosy than the investor presentations. The Rubel well so far is the only significant liquid producer in western Monroe County, other wells are big dry gas producers which supports some of the ODNR view. More data is still needed to define the potential of Monroe and Belmont counties with respect to the Utica. I have contacted the ODNR staff many times over the years and I have always found them to be professional, meticulous and they take their work and mission very seriously. Talk to them, they have been always quite willing to help and honest about what they can and cannot do.
I think it is important to remember that these maps only indicate hydrocarbons in the "Upper Ordovician Shale Interval in Ohio which include the Utica,Point Pleasant, Lexington and Logana which is mainly found in eastern Ohio. These maps do not represent hydrocarbons in formation deeper than the Logana.
Some of these formations may be the Black River Group (which is borderline) and definitly the Trempealeau and the Eau Claire. I've pulled up some of the well cards in the southeast and none of them indicate which formation was drilled into. It may be that some of these very productive wells are deeper than the Utica PP Lexington and Logan and therefore would not be represented on these maps.
I strongly suspect that the ODNR has reviewed those presentations and perhaps had some conversations with the folks who compiled the original data and interpretations.behind the maps. I have reviewed the published material myself previously. The point is none of those maps show a well with significant liquids in Monroe County other than the Rubel and Stutzman, ( just across the Belmont line). None of the information in those maps provides a geologically reliable source to recalculate the ODNR maps to push the dry gas line east, or to define a new sweet spot. There are factors beyond simply reading the TOC and assumed vitrinite reflectances in creating these types of maps. The deep geology of Monroe county is poorly understood as yet, and may well be more complex than currently presented. Personally, I think the ODNR is being overly conservative in their mapping, but my hopes for a Utica liquids accumulation in other than the NW slice of Monroe is looking less likely unless more wells over a wider area prove it up. I have not accused any of the companies of publishing false information, but I have enough experience as a geologist to know how to read what a map says and more importantly, what it cannot say. What has been made public in the cited presentations is not the underlying data that can be evaluated to prove the ODNR wrong. I'd love to see the data myself, but that isn't going to be happening for awhile. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see oil and liquids in most of Monroe, but I am not seeing a reason to get excited in the current data.
The people I have met at the Ohio Survey are clearly not bottom dwellers as you insist. I have no access to confidential data on the wells you mention, yet I find it curious that if the Whitacre well has produced any significant quantity of liquids, there has been no mention in nearly a year. Scuttlebut I have heard from well service folks is it was big no doubt but dry gas, not conclusive by any means, but very curious. The Wolfpen well is too new to know. You are assuming there has been an attempt to mislead where it does not exist because you see a clear contradiction in the recent well production figures with respect to a map series that doesn't actually say what you think it does.
You are making a not uncommon mistake in interpreting the ODNR maps and assuming the high inferred vitrinite reflectance values guarantee the absence of oil or liquids. It is not necessarily the case that only gas can be present in the reservoir for several geologic and chemical reasons. The use of vitrinite in rocks of this age is an adaptation of a tool widely used in more recent deposits that actually contain the material. It is not present in rocks as old as the Utica and never was. The values are calculated based on chemical analysis of core and cuttings from wells. This is the proprietary information that the ODNR does not currently have access to or authorization to publish, and is not released merely because of the existence of publicly available investor presentations.
Even when the ODNR receives or may receive samples from the wells, the calculated vitrinite numbers may never show this area in the liquid or oil window. It will certainly show the area is gas prone, and you must admit these wells do produce a great amount of gas with the liquids. A lot of money has been made by various oil companies in exploring in areas where one parameter or another suggests there is nothing worth looking for. This is exactly the situation Gulfport, Eclipse, and Antero are currently exploiting. They are looking beyond what the vitrinite data alone suggests and are being well rewarded for it. The ODNR S1 and S2 maps do not suggest the area should be ignored, and with time sufficient information will be acquired and published that can explain the apparent conflict over the presence of oil and liquids in what seems to be a gas rich basin. It is is much more complex problem than the media has the time to post or publish.
I don't believe you are justified in insulting the Ohio Geological Survey staff, they have been doing fine work over many years. Much of what they have contributed previously had something to do with getting companies thinking about the possibilities of deeper production in eastern Ohio. This can only be a benefit to all of Ohio.
BTW....this is the "revised" map issued about a year ago by ODNR. It cost the State Geologist, Larry Wickstrom, his job. Not for inaccuracy, of course, but for not first obtaining the approval of "city hall". Isn't it ironic that that ODNR values protocol higher than accuracy?
Actually, these are newly revised, albeit similar to what they published last year.
ODNR moved the wet gas zone further west last year via the Wickstrom map, and those boundaries are retained in the most recent version. In my opinion, reported results of wells drilled in the interim have proven the new boundaries to be inaccurate.
I'm surprised ODNR retained Wickstrom's version of the various zones.
When a well permit is issued, the Oil Company/Drilling company is repuired under law, ORC 1509.10 to convey a set of drill cuttings to the Ohio Division of Geological Survey after the drilling has been completed. The well operator has the option to request that cuttings be held confidential for a period of one year from the date the well reached total depth.
It's my understanding that anyone can go to the ODGS and check out core samples and keep those samples for one year. So now two years have past and ODGS has no information to draw maps. I might even keep checking out those samples to keep my information private.
And it's perfectly legal.
Smoke may be legal but it's still smoke.
My question is why all the (apparent) smoke (and mirrors) / slight of hand ?
I think I know the answer to that question, but, I'd like to hear it from other landowners.
Otherwise it sounds like I'm talking to myself.
You know what everyone likes to say about that !
You know the thing that I really have a hard time understanding is the color coding changes in the northeast (Ashtabula County) this iteration.
If there hasn't been enough activity from the developers / drillers why change the color coding on the maps ? ?
Why not leave the colors they used for their earlier maps instead of revising them ? ?
Another one of life's great mysteries for the landowner to ponder !
As if there weren't enough previously !