Natural Gas Estimate Released for Utica Shale

The Marcellus Shale is about to get some competition.

The U.S. Geological Survey released on Friday its first estimate of the Utica Shale, which lies beneath the Marcellus and stretches from upstate New York to Ohio. The USGS estimated that the Utica holds about 38 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

That's still less than half of the Marcellus Shale estimate, which is at about 84 trillion cubic feet. But Steve Forde, vice president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, remains optimistic. He said the Utica's reserves figures will likely increase as more data becomes available, and called Utica “another game-changing opportunity.”

There is currently a statewide moratorium in New York for one technique of extracting natural gas, known as fracking.  The Cuomo administration has delayed a decision on whether to allow fracking until after the state Health Department conducts a health impact review, which could impact the Department of Environmental Conversation’s much anticipated environmental impact assessment.