Finding Utica Shale Gas in Eastern PA Not Likely According to Experts

Penn State University professor of geosciences and Marcellus Shale expert Terry Engelder says the Utica Shale that sits below the Marcellus in eastern Pennsylvania will likely not produce much in the way of natural gas:

"The Utica really is off the table in much of eastern Pennsylvania, as far as I can tell," said Marcellus Shale expert Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University.

The heat that created the hard coal in the anthracite region of northeastern Pennsylvania also "cooked" the natural gas out of the Marcellus Shale, converting it to carbon dioxide.

The average depth of the Marcellus Shale in Northeastern Pennsylvania is about 7,000 feet, according to Geologist John A. Harper of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Pennsylvania Geological Survey.

The Utica Shale lies another 6,000 or so feet beneath the Marcellus, making it 13,000 feet or about 2½ miles underground.

Earth temperature increases with depth – that’s universal, Engelder said.

"If you have a high enough temperature to ruin the Marcellus, the Utica is surely gone," he said.*

*The Citizen’s Voice (May 9, 2011) – Expert: Finding natural gas in Utica Shale is unlikely; more ‘overcooked’ than Marcellus