About the Utica Shale

The Utica Shale extends across most of Ohio and ranges in thickness from 87 feet to 350 feet. The play also appears to have several thick pockets of recoverable oil and natural gas trapped in the reservoir rocks.

Additionally, it is believed that the Utica Shale play in Ohio will be a “liquids” play. This means that the Ohio Utica Shale is believed to hold more crude oil and wet gas. How much? A recent report by the state’s geologist, Larry Wickstrom, released some astounding estimates on the Utica Shale. If we are to assume that the Utica Shale play in Ohio holds one-third of its volume in natural gas and two-thirds of its volume in crude oil, recovering just 1.2% of these hydrocarbons would result in 3.75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.31 billion barrels of oil. If we increase the recoverable rate up to 5%, the estimated recovery jumps to 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.5 billion barrels of oil. Ohio would have the ability to become a major oil producing state if this recoverable estimate were to hold true.

However, there is also excitement surrounding the recoverable “wet gas” from the Utica. From wet natural gas, we get ethane, which is then used to create ethylene. Ethylene is commonly used in several consumer products including toys, diapers, household items, siding, window frame, pips, medical tubing, medical gloves, tires, hoses, and other various consumer products. If the Utica Shale play in Ohio were to hold a source of ethane, it is likely that the chemical industry (and the associated economic activity) would come back to Ohio and the Appalachian Basin due to a large local source of this natural gas byproduct.

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