The Utica Shale Vs. Eagle Ford Shale
Utica Shale Vs. The Eagle Ford Shale
The Utica shale oil play in Ohio, (Utica – Point Pleasant interval) may prove to eclipse even the Eagle Ford and Bakken shales and become the largest new oil discovery in the United States.
It remains to be seen how initial production rates and decline curves from Utica shale wells in the liquids window will hold up vs. those in the analogous liquids rich portion of Eagle Ford shale. The Eagle Ford shale is a “borderline carbonate” reservoir, closer to limestone than shale. The hottest area of the Utica shale play in Ohio is in the Utica – Point Pleasant interval. The Point Pleasant interval is an inter-bedded limestone – shale interval with good reservoir potential. Chesapeake Energy is betting big on the Utica – Point Pleasant play. They have over a decade’s worth of experience in shale plays such as the Barnett and claim to have over 3,200′ of core samples, 2,000 well logs and initial production figures from 4 wells (not yet released). According to Chesapeake, this data indicates that the Utica shale, (at least the area on which they are focusing) will be, in their words, “economically superior” to the Eagle Ford shale. It should be noted that Chesapeake Energy does not hold as much “sweet spot” acreage in the volatile oil window of the Eagle Ford as other companies such as EOG Resources. Their holdings are mostly to the west of the core area and in the “black oil” window in South Texas. I’m not saying that the Utica shale isn’t a major oil and gas discovery, it’s huge. It’s just that one company’s perspective on “play vs. play” reservoir quality can be vastly different from another. See map below of Chesapeake Energy’s leasing position in the Eagle Ford. The most productive wells, with over 1,000 barrels a day of production, are being drilled in the “wet gas window” to the East of Chesapeake’s acreage.
Chesapeake Energy’s Utica shale acreage is mostly in the “wet gas” window in Eastern Ohio. Compared to their Texas acreage, the Ohio acreage is most likely going to produce a higher volume of oil and natural gas liquids. They’ve found the right “sweet spot” in the Utica shale – Point Pleasant interval that just might be as good or better as the “sweet spot” of the Eagle Ford shale.
If Chesapeake is right about the Utica Shale vs. the Eagle Ford shale, competition for available drilling rigs will heat up due to the new Ohio play. Chesapeake recently announced that they are looking to have a partner in the Utica shale by the end of 2011. In the Eagle Ford shale their partner is China’s state owned oil company, CNOOC.