Norse Energy Corp, a drilling company headquartered in Norway but with local operations and 180,000 net acres of leases in New York State, filed the state’s first application to drill in the Utica Shale last week. Norse believes that the Utica Shale for New York will be what the Marcellus Shale is for Pennsylvania. Why? It all has to do with depth:
"Our experts believe that New York’s Utica has even more potential than the Marcellus and that it could rival what’s being experienced right now in Pennsylvania with the Marcellus," said Norse Executive Vice President Dennis Holbrook.
The Utica Shale covers 28,500 square miles in New York—the majority of the state’s area—and extends south to Tennessee and north to Quebec, Canada.
The Utica and Marcellus formations both move closer to the surface as they extend north into New York, with portions of the Marcellus emerging aboveground at outcrops in several areas.
While the Marcellus is at ideal depths in much of Pennsylvania, it becomes too shallow to drill in some areas beyond the Southern Tier.
And while the Utica is too deep to economically drill in most of Pennsylvania, the depth of the formation is "optimal" in parts of central New York, Holbrook said.
"In the northern part of the Pennsylvania where they’ve had some of the best results, you’re probably in the 5,000-to-6,000-feet range for the Marcellus," he said. "The Utica, in our area, is probably right around that 5,000 to 6,000 feet."
The potential exists for both Marcellus and Utica drilling in the company’s 130,000-acre leasehold in Madison, Chenango and Broome counties, Holbrook said, but less is known about the Utica.
"We’ll be smarter about this stuff as we get the chance to go out and do some exploration," he said.*
*Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Jul 25, 2011) – Alternative gas pocket beckons drillers to N.Y.