The Utica Shale extends from Quebec to Kentucky, running thousands of feet below the Marcellus shale throughout parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and across the Canadian border. Although it was named after the city of Utica, New York, where it outcrops, or appears on the surface of the earth, in most places the Utica shale is present thousands of feet below the earth’s surface, making the oil and natural gas it contains expensive to obtain.
Geologists believe that the oil and gas potential of the Utica shale could be as big as the huge Marcellus shale, the largest source of natural gas that has been discovered in the United States. The Utica Shale is also one of the biggest gas fields, or plays, in Canada, which it is estimated to contain over 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
There have been many vertical wells drilled through the Utica shale formation, some dating as far back as the late 1800s, although none of them were particularly productive because of the relative density of the shale. But since horizontal and hydraulic fracturing procedures were developed in recent years, energy companies have been able to extract significant amounts of oil and natural gas from the Utica formation. Although hydraulic fracturing can be used when drilling both horizontal and vertical wells, in formations like the Utica shale hydraulic fracturing is most effective when drilling horizontally.
The Utica shale encompasses the following Ohio Counties:
The Utica shale lies beneath the following Pennsylvania counties:
Companies that are currently active in the Utica shale include: