Underlying much of the northeast U.S. and extending across the border into Quebec, the triple-window Utica Shale has evolved from a source rock to a highly prospective dry gas, natural gas liquids (NGL) and oil asset. Closely aligned with the overlaying and gas-rich Marcellus Shale, the Utica holds estimated undiscovered and technically recoverable reserves of 38 tcf of gas and 940 million bbl of oil, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reserve assessment. While the Utica traverses no less than eight states across the northeast and midwest, Ohio is the epicenter for nearly all E&P activity. A long oil producing state, Ohio’s midstream infrastructure is designed around the delivery of shallow, low-volume oil production, rendering it ill-prepared for the rapid upsurge in high-rate gas production. Consequently, the resulting takeaway issues force operators to periodically shut-in production, which, in turn, has been shown to aggravate the decline rates of Utica gas wells, where the frac stimulation programs typically employ tremendous volumes of lightweight conventional sand as frac propping agents.
Read full case history to learn more about the rationale and results of a STRATAGEN® comparative analysis that documented the sustained drainage benefits of replacing sand with lower-volume ceramic proppant