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List Of Shale Gas Formations In The United States
Natural gas is a hydrocarbon, which means it is made up of compounds of hydrogen and carbon.
This list includes the major shale gas formations in the U.S. Shale gas refers to natural gas that is extracted from shale, an unconventional reservoir of hydrocarbons. Shale is considered unconventional since most oil and gas comes from sandstone and limestone formations. Since shale is a very dense sedimentary rock it must be be "fracked" or be stimulated with hydraulic fracturing to release oil and gas. Hydraulic fracturing refers to the process by which thousands of gallons of fluid are forced down the newly drilled well to fracture or break apart the shale. Once this has been done more natural gas or oil can escape. Shale gas reserves in the United States hold trillions of cubic feet of clean burning natural gas and will be a big part of the United States energy supply for many years to come. Below are some of the major shale gas reserves. Following the list is a map from the U.S. Department of Energy showing major shale formations.
List Of Shale Gas Reserves In The USA.
The Antrim Shale
The Antrim shale lies in the northern part of the Michigan basin. It is a Devonian age rock formation and lies at a relatively shallow depth of around 1000 feet deep. It has been produced by vertical wells for several decades now. Horizontal drilling is not typically used in the Antrim shale.
The Barnett Shale
The hottest area of drilling activity in the Barnett shale thus far is in the Fort Worth Basin. Wells are in the 6000 to 8000 feet deep range. Horizontal drilling is the preferred method used. It is a newly developed "play" as oil and gas discoveries are called, though it was known about for decades. It was not until directional drilling was invented in the last couple of decades that it was viable. The Barnett shale extends as far as West Texas, where only a few exploratory wells have been drilled thus far. The majority of activity is located around the towns of Cleburne, Weatherford, Ft. Worth, Mansfield and Mineral Wells. See Barnett Shale Info and Maps for more information and maps of the Barnett shale.
The Caney Shale
The Caney shale lies in the Arkoma basin of Oklahoma. It has only been recently developed, following success in the Barnett shale.
List of Shale Gas Formations Continued..
Located in Alabama, this Cambrian age shale is also recently being developed. New wells are currently in progress.
The Fayetteville Shale
The Fayetteville Shale is also located in the Arkoma basin in Arkansas. This newly developed shale is proving to be very profitable for oil and gas companies. It lies at a depth of 1500 to 6500 feet. It had been previously been produced from vertical wells but now all new wells are horizontal.
The Floyd Shale
The Floyd shale is located in the Black Warrior basin of Mississippi and Alabama. It is of the Mississippian geologic age.
The Gothic Shale
The Gothic shale is a newly exploited shale formation located in the Paradox basin of Colorado. Only a few wells have been drilled, one testing to 5700 MCF per day.
The Haynesville Shale
The Haynesville shale is one of the major shale plays, along with the Barnett and Marcellus. Petrohawk Energy has had considerable success there. The Haynesville shale is a Jurassic age formation. Vertical wells were drilled as far back as 1905 but not until the advent of directional drilling was the formation considered a major gas source.
The New Albany Shale
The Devonian to Missippian age New Albany shale lies in the Illinois basin. It has been a producer of gas for over 100 years. Most wells are shallow, between 120 and 2100 feet deep. New drilling and completion methods along with higher natural gas prices are causing oil and gas companies to revisit old leases and drill new wells. For more information see; New Albany Shale Information
The Pearsall Shale
Named after the Texas town of Pearsall, this shale is located in the Maverick basin of southwest Texas. To date over 50 wells are producing natural gas.
The Eagle Ford Shale
The Eagle Ford Shale is a new discovery or "play" that Petrohawk Energy is developing. Their current leasehold is over 200,000 acres. One new well is producing 9.3 Mmcfe/d or 9.3 million equivalent (including condensate) per day. The Eagle Ford shale could potentially be as large as the Haynesville shale, though deeper depths, over 11,000 feet will make completions more difficult and expensive. Once the price of natural gas rises there should be an increase in drilling activity by Petrohawk Energy and other companies. The Eagle Ford shale covers a wide area, roughly from Maverick county to DeWitt County in the east. In Maverick county the Eagle Ford shale produces oil as well as natural gas. For more information see Eagle Ford Shale Information and Map
The Marcellus Shale
Possibly the most exciting, in terms of potential revenue, to oil and gas companies is the Marcellus shale that lies under much of the Northeast United States. It is a Devonian age shale, like the New Albany.
Numerous small shale gas plays are being developed throughout the United States and Canada. Many appear on the map below, others are too newly discovered to be on the map. The Bakken shale, located in North Dakota produces both oil and natural gas. Chesapeake Energy currently is drilling throughout the Marcellus on over 1.8 million leased acres and is making some good wells. Many of the drilling rigs that were working in the Barnett shale have been moved north to the Marcellus shale. For more information on the Marcellus shale see Marcellus Shale Map and Info
For more information on directional drilling for oil and natural gas see How Oil and Gas Wells Are Drilled Horizontally