Promising Utica Shale Assessment

The Utica Shale contains about 38 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas (at the mean estimate) according to the first assessment of this continuous (unconventional) natural gas accumulation by the U. S. Geological Survey. The Utica Shale has a mean of 940 million barrels of unconventional oil resources and a mean of 208 million barrels of unconventional natural gas liquids.

The Utica Shale lies beneath the Marcellus Shale, and both are part of the Appalachian Basin, which is the longest-producing petroleum province in the United States. The Marcellus Shale, at 84 TCF of natural gas, is the largest unconventional gas basin USGS has assessed. This is followed closely by the Greater Green River Basin in southwestern Wyoming, which has 84 TCF of undiscovered natural gas, of which 82 TCF is continuous (tight gas). 

“Understanding our domestic oil and gas resource potential is important, which is why we assess emerging plays like the Utica, as well as areas that have been in production for some time,” explains Brenda Pierce, USGS energy resources program coordinator. “Publicly available information about undiscovered oil and gas resources can aid policy makers and resource managers, and inform the debate about resource development.”

The Utica Shale assessment covered areas in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 

Some shale rock formations, like the Utica and Marcellus, can be source rocks – those formations from which hydrocarbons, such as oil and gas, originate. Conventional oil and gas resources gradually migrate away from the source rock into other formations and traps, whereas continuous resources, such as shale oil and shale gas, remain trapped within the original source rock.

These new estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas resources, which are those quantities of oil and gas producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations.

This USGS assessment is an estimate of continuous oil, gas and natural gas liquid accumulations in the Upper Ordovician Utica Shale of the Appalachian Basin. The estimate of undiscovered oil ranges from 590 million barrels to 1.39 billion barrels (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively), natural gas ranges from 21 TCF to 61 TCF (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively), and the estimate of natural gas liquids ranges from 4 million to 16 million barrels (95 percent to 5 percent probability, respectively).

USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. The USGS Utica Shale assessment was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol.

Candidates for NGWA Board

Three candidates are seeking two spots on the National Ground Water Association’s (NGWA) board of directors, with the vote scheduled for Dec. 6 during the 2012 NGWA Groundwater Expo and Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

The candidates:

• David Henrich, vice president of Bergerson-Caswell Inc., Maple Plain, Minn. Henrich has worked 19 years in the ground water industry. He has served three years on the NGWA government affairs committee and its geothermal subcommittee for two of those years. He serves on the Department of Transportation/Occupational Safety and Health Administration subcommittee. Henrich also serves on the Minnesota Water Well Association board of directors, and is a member of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

• D. Merritt Partridge III, vice president of Partridge Well Drilling Co., Jacksonville, Fla. A sixth generation well driller, Partridge has worked 14 years in the ground water industry. He is secretary-treasurer of the Florida Ground Water Association, and serves on the board of directors for the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee.

• Jeffrey Williams, vice president of Spafford and Sons Water Wells in Jericho, Vt. Williams has worked more than 32 years in the ground water industry. He has served three years on the NGWA board of directors and the contractors division board. Williams also has held officer positions in the Vermont Ground Water Association for 27 years, currently serving as treasurer and educational director. He currently chairs NGWA’s government affairs committee, and serves on its geothermal subcommittee. Williams also has served on NGWA’s affiliate states, rural water, and safety subcommittees. 

Atlas Copco Acquires NewTech

Atlas Copco Secoroc LLC has agreed to acquire U.S.-based NewTech Drilling Products LLC. The acquisition adds a new type of high-quality product to the Swedish industrial group’s offering for oil and gas drilling.

Based in Salt Lake City, NewTech develops and manufactures drilling products with a focus on rotary PDC (polycrystalline diamond compact) drill bits. These tools are designed to be both impact- and wear-resistant, and should be particularly suited to shallow, land-based drilling applications. Privately owned NewTech currently employs 20 people.

“This acquisition extends our expertise in the oil and gas market and broadens our range of products for existing customers in the mining and construction industries,” says Bob Fassl, business area president, Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Technique. “We look forward to combining NewTech’s product development competence with the strength of the Atlas Copco brand and the global reach of our sales force.”

NewTech will be part of Atlas Copco’s division Rock Drilling Tools within the Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business area. The acquisition is expected to be closed in the fourth quarter.

TEI’s Most-recent Open House

TEI Rock Drills Inc. held its annual open house Oct. 9-11 at its Montrose, Colo., headquarters. Those attend-

ing  this always-informative-and-entertaining event were treated to an outstanding classroom curriculum, and all the hands-on equipment demonstrations they could handle. Look for a wrap-up in next month’s National Driller.

New Vermeer Facility On the Way

Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, a leading environmental and underground construction equipment supplier with 11 locations across Texas and southern Louisiana, recently held a ground-breaking ceremony for its San Antonio facility relocation.

Located directly off the IH-35 corridor on the northeast side of San Antonio within the city limits of Selma, the new 34,000-square-foot facility will be built on 8.2 acres, and will open in early 2013. The store will include additional space for heavy equipment, parts inventory, service, training and sales. The new facility will replace the branch located on the east side of San Antonio, which has been open since 1978.

The dealership has been awarded the Pinnacle Award, the highest distinction awarded by the manufacturer, recognizing excellence in customer service and support. The ground-breaking event was hosted in partnership with the Randolph Metrocom Chamber of Commerce, which supports economic development and business growth in Selma and nine other local communities.

“We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from our San Antonio customer base over the past 30 years,” says vice president Mike Bye. “We are investing in this new facility to demonstrate our continued commitment to better service our customers in the region.”  ND