Utica Shale Natural Gas Drilling in NY

Updated on February 19, 2020

Hold on everyone- the natural gas boom may not be limited to the Marcellus Shale Formation, but yet another, possibly more lucrative natural gas deposit called the Utica Shale Formation. This formation runs from the middle of Pennsylvania up through Quebec. The revenue potential of this formation may make farmers millionaires and save the states of Pennsylvania and New York from bankruptcy.

While much of the focus has been on the Marcellus Shale Formation that stretches across Appalachia, the research and development of the Utica Formation has oil and gas companies vying for poll position in getting landowners to sign away the rights for exploration. In addition, the rich mineral deposits that also lie along both of these natural gas formations are incredibly valuable.

Utica Shale Formation Maps and Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shale gas plays in the lower 48 states(eia.doe.gov)Seismic testing in the Southern Tier of NY.  Photo by GerberInk.Major tight gas plays in the lower 48 states (eia.doe.gov)Gas drilling schematics.  (eia.doe.gov)Economically at risk areas in Appalachia. (arc.gov)Appalachia region map.  (arc.gov)Reclaimed area after natural gas drilling in Chemung County, NY.  (DEC.NY.gov)
Shale gas plays in the lower 48 states(eia.doe.gov)
Shale gas plays in the lower 48 states(eia.doe.gov)
Seismic testing in the Southern Tier of NY.  Photo by GerberInk.
Seismic testing in the Southern Tier of NY. Photo by GerberInk.
Major tight gas plays in the lower 48 states (eia.doe.gov)
Major tight gas plays in the lower 48 states (eia.doe.gov)
Gas drilling schematics.  (eia.doe.gov)
Gas drilling schematics. (eia.doe.gov)
Economically at risk areas in Appalachia. (arc.gov)
Economically at risk areas in Appalachia. (arc.gov)
Appalachia region map.  (arc.gov)
Appalachia region map. (arc.gov)
Reclaimed area after natural gas drilling in Chemung County, NY.  (DEC.NY.gov)
Reclaimed area after natural gas drilling in Chemung County, NY. (DEC.NY.gov)

Utica Shale Production Potential in NY

The current output for natural gas wells in the Utica Formation located in Quebec have an output of approximately one million cubic feet per day. This formation overlaps a substantial portion of the Marcellus Shale Formation in the SouthernTier of New York. If drilling were to be done, either vertically or by use of hydrofracting in New York, it would decrease New York City's dependency on oil and coal.

New York will be deciding which natural gas drilling permits to issue in the coming months. Currently there is a heated debate on whether hydrofracting should be allowed or not, due in part to concern over the salt water brine produced during the process being released into water tables.

About the Utica Shale Formation

The Utica Shale Formation, also known as Ordovician Utica Shale, overlaps the Marcellus Shale Formation as it extends from Quebec, Canada to the middle of Pennsylvania. It is underneath the Marcellus Shale, which will mean that natural gas drilling companies will have to drill much deeper to reach these gas deposits. Shale gas deposits can be tapped by using vertical drilling or by the hydrofracting process. The Utica Shale is a thick shale; it ranges in depth from 150 to 700 feet thick. Shale gas that has been extracted successfully exists in rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.

How Natural Gas Drilling is Changing Lives

New York newspapers are following with interest the natural gas exploration going on in neighboring Pennsylvania. The reports, however, seem to only cover problems that arise in the drilling process, not the positive effects that have occurred or are happening to local and state economies, as well as for landowners, many of which are farmers.

One report, 'Bradford County Residents see Marcellus Shale development changing their lives' on the Star-Gazette.com website detailed how the farmers are likely to blow their earnings from natural gas drilling on “dream vacations,” and that the drilling was taking place in picturesque “old pastures.” The writers apparently have no concept of what it is like to be a farmer, nor what the rural community has to do in order to eke out a living. Farmers do not have 401K or retirement plans. They usually don’t have health insurance and rarely, if ever, can afford to send their children to college.

Running a farm is very expensive, and with agriculture prices diving and extensive new government regulations forcing many farmers out of business, it is no wonder that these rural dwellers are ready to latch on to anything that will lift them out of poverty. These landowners have the right to sell the rights to natural gas drilling companies if they wish, and not feel that they have to preserve unusable pasture land for the general public's viewing pleasure.

Hunting for Methane

Natural Gas Drilling Updates for NY

November 2014: Currently Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refused to take action to allow hydrofracting in NY stating that he will let science decide the outcome. A recent study by the Ohio State University released in September, 2014 revealed the cause of groundwater contamination in Ohio and Pennsylvania: "There is no question that in many instances elevated levels of natural gas are naturally occurring, but in a subset of cases, there is also clear evidence that there were human causes for the contamination," said study leader Thomas Darrah, assistant professor of earth sciences at Ohio State. "However our data suggests that where contamination occurs, it was caused by poor casing and cementing in the wells," Darrah said.

August 2010, there is a moratorium on drilling/hydrofracting in NY, which would last until May of 2011. This moratorium has the potential to be extended an additional 3 years if the EPA does another study of the hydrofracting process and its relationship to drinking water.

The EPA previously did a similar study that was published in 2004. The new proposed study would cost taxpayers 1.9 million dollars.

Update: March, 2011, drilling will be permitted beginning in July of this year. Permits are being issued, and have been since November of 2010. Propane fracking may be the favored method in the fracking process as there are many opponents of hydrofracking.

Update: October, 2011, a second open comment period is nearing the end on the latest SGEIS report. At the end of the comment period, gas lease permits may be issued beginning in 2012. Latest report from the NY Post: Fracking Gets a Clean Bill of Health

Update: December, 2011, a third open comment period is going to be allowed. The DEC appears incapable of making a decision in a timely fashion. The comment periods have lasted for 3 years now.

Update: February, 2013, the DOH has found no health issues with fracking and has advised the DEC accordingly. The DEC is finalizing the SGEIS report and permits will be issued 10 days after the finalization of the document.

The JLCNY has sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo stating the following: February 15, 2013 – Binghamton, NY. “Towns simply do not have the expertise, knowledge and resources to properly evaluate and administer natural gas development. Towns passing bans or moratoriums are acting upon emotional and political pressures from various groups opposing natural gas development, and not empirical evidence derived by the towns. Most towns have done little or no independent investigation into natural gas drilling. Many bans are primarily delay tactics to discourage drilling companies from coming to New York State all in direct violation of New York’s Environmental Conservation Law 23-0301 which states that it is in the public interest to drill in a manner as will prevent waste and provide for the operation and development of oil and gas properties in such a manner that will achieve a greater ultimate recovery of oil and gas.

“It is with this in mind that we ask the Court to understand that we as town officials recognize our limitations and we ask that issues related to the regulation of natural gas development, including bans on natural gas activity, continue to be under the jurisdiction of the state. We also ask the Court to recognize that the Association of Towns does not speak for a significant number of its members to the extent that it supports either the pro natural gas development or anti natural gas development positions. In fact, the Association’s town members were never asked to vote on whether the Association would submit Amicus Curiae briefs in these cases.”


Submit a Comment
  • Gawth profile image

    Ron Gawthorp 

    9 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

    Darned good hub. I didn't know about the Utica. Glad for the info. I was recently visiting relatives in Illinois and was told the lease hounds are working on shales in Trenton section for possible horizontal development. It was seldom feasible in vertical wells but always put out a good shell. Keep on writing.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)