The American shale basins of Marcellus and Utica that underpin rising US LNG exports and domestic gas use contain huge volumes of undiscovered technically recoverable continuous resources of natural gas.
The US Geological Survey, a scientific agency of the government and the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources in onshore lands and offshore state waters, said in a new report that shale formations in the Appalachian Basin contain an estimated 214 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas.
Analysts note that the amount of shale gas mentioned would be enough to support over a dozen additional large LNG projects if the resources were ever produced. About 1 Tcf of proven gas reserves is required to produce 1 million tonnes per annum of LNG for a 20-year period.
That’s as “significant amounts of natural gas” are already known or have been produced and used from the Marcellus and Utica Shales since the previous USGS assessments.
“The USGS assessments are for remaining resources and exclude known and produced oil and gas,” explained the report.
The natural gas in these formations is classified as continuous, or contiguous, because it is spread throughout the assessed rock layers instead of being concentrated in discrete accumulations.
Production techniques like directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing are required to produce these shale-gas and oil resources.