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WikiMarcellus -- Marcellus Shale and Other Appalachian Plays

Trenton-Black River (TBR)

The Trenton-Black River (TBR) is a geological formation. It extends underneath the Appalachian Basin, from Kentucky through Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and into upstate New York and the Provinces of southwestern Ontario and southern Quebec.

Contracting note: One can obtain an interest in TBR that would be separate from Marcellus Shale and other sections.

Companies Actively Drilling

Reported Leasing Land

Drilling Hotspots

Marcellus Shale (MS)

During 2008, very active leasing activity took place in the first half of the year by companies speculating on eventual production of prolific amounts of natural gas from the Marcellus shale. It was part of a larger development of shale oil and gas plays throughout North America sometimes referred to as the shale sweepstakes. There are still many research issues related to the exploration of this formation. During the first half of 2009, leasing activity had been greatly reduced, as natural-gas prices fell around one-third from January until early July, and due to the on-going economic meltdown. Nevertheless, most of the companies were at least continuing their reconnaissance of prospective areas and a few had even increased planned drilling. During 2009, natgas production from the Marcellus shale rose from virtually nothing to about 1% of total U.S. production.

In excess of twenty major oil and gas companies had invested over $700 million during 2008 in developing the Marcellus Shale play. Up to half of the total was in Pennsylvania with New York State in second place. Gas exploration and production in the US had been shifting to the Marcellus and Barnett shales due to higher yields that were possible, availability of pipeline capacity, and the closeness of the fields to large metropolitan markets. These factors made the Marcellus and Barnett plays more profitable when compared to other alternatives.

Investment continued during 2009, but on a much reduced scale than had originally been planned due to a gas glut, less than favorable economic conditions and unfolding environmental concerns about drilling. Despite these overall restraining influences, according to one (possibly optimistic) estimate 800 Marcellus wells were expected to be drilled during 2009; that would represent an increase of more than 400% over the previous year.

  • Update #1: A mid-October report noted that 184 horizontal drilling permits were issued in September, 2009 alone compared to 91 in August. The largest number of permits had been issued in the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford (36), Clinton (15), Greene (14), Lackawanna (11), Lycoming (14) Tioga (31) and Washington (23).
  • Update #2: As of October 30, 2009 Pennsylvania's DEP had issued 1,592 Marcellus drilling permits year-to-date. This compares to only 476 for the entire year of 2008. Through the end of October, 433 Marcellus shale wells had been drilled during 2009 in Pennsylvania. That was more than double the 195 wells drilled the entire previous year. Over one third of the permitting activity had been in the three northeastern Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, Susquehanna, and Tioga.
  • Update #3: According to a mid-November, 2009 report 50 rigs were in the process of working the Marcellus shale.
  • Update #4: 741 Marcellus shale wells were drilled in Pennsylvania during in 2009. 1,350 new wells were expected in 2010.
  • Update #5: Weak natural gas prices and oversupply continued from 2009 into the first half of 2010.
  • Update #6: A July, 2010 report, quoting PDEP, gave the following Marcellus shale growth stats:
Year           # wells        #wells
               drilled     permitted
2008             196           519
2009             763         1,985
2010 (thru June) 564         1,172
  • Update #7: A news item in October, 2010 noted that 1,681 Marcellus shale wells had been drilled by mid-2010 with production of 1.4 Bcf/d. 101 drilling rigs had been deployed in the formation. Leading counties in the play were:
Southwest             Northeast
County   # wells      County    # wells
Washington  259       Bradford    309
Greene      150       Tioga       261
                      Susquehanna 134
  • Update #8: By October, 2010, PDEP was reporting that 1,099 Marcellus shale wells had been drilled in Pennsylvania from January 1 through September 30, 2010. This number had grown to 1,257 by mid-November. This represented 2,395 Marcellus wells overall that had been drilled since the start of the play.
  • Update #9: The final tally for permits issued during 2010 in Pennsylvania was 3,314 with over 1,000 wells drilled. As of April, 2011, 590 permits had been issued year-to-date and 300 wells drilled.
  • Update #10: A final PDEP tally for 2011 indicated over 2,200 producing Marcellus shale wells in Pennsylvania--that is, 500 more producing than in the first half of the year. Production was 40% higher during the second half of the year than in the earlier reporting period. Pennsylvania Marcellus production amounted to roughly 1.04 Tcf during 2011. Several companies announced production cut-backs due to the very low prices of natural gas.
  • Update #11: During 2010, 1,644 Marcellus shale wells were drilled in Pennsylvania. In 2011, an additional 2,046 were drilled. The rate of drilling appeared to be slowing in 2012 due to a continuation of depressed natural gas prices.

Companies Actively Drilling

Reported Leasing Land

Support Companies and Organizations

Environmental and Non-governmental Orgainzations

Industry Organizations

Engineering and Environmental Consultants

Governmental Organizations

Landholders & Landowners' Groups

Landowners' Coalitions
Landowners' Services

Universities And Research Institutes

Gas Industry Publications


Consulting Organizations

Online/Social Networking Resources


Professional Organizations

Utica Shale (US)

The Utica shale is located in central New York State and stretches north to the Province of Quebec, Canada. There is far less heard about it than the Marcellus shale, because the latter is a much larger formation stretching across several states.

Companies Actively Drilling

Reported Leasing Land

Support Companies and Organizations

Huron Shale (HS)

The Huron shale is a play spanning the tri-state area of Southern West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia. It is shallower than the Marcellus shale at the 4000 or 5000 feet level. Most of the wells in this formation are horizontal ones.

Companies Actively Drilling

Reported Leasing Land

North Carolina shales

North Carolina's shale formations including the Dan River Basin and the Deep River Basin of Central North Carolina are so far virtually untapped, but may hold reservoirs capable of eventual commercial gas production.

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