The New Albany Shale, Maps and Info.
Outcrop Of The New Albany Shale In Kentucky
What is the New Albany Shale?
It is Devonian age, hydrocarbon rich, brownish black to greenish gray shale that lies under much of the Illinois Basin in the states of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. It gets it name from New Albany, Indiana where it is exposed at the surface on the Ohio River. Gas production, in small quantities has been occurring since 1858.
Crude vertical wells drilled with cable tool rigs were able to tap some gas but not in economic quantities other than to provide heat for nearby homes or factories.
It was not until the advent of horizontal drilling and accurate MWD - LWD or Logging While Drilling technology that the New Albany shale was realized to be a major source of gas.
It is composed of shallow, biogenic and thermogenic shales. Biogenic shale gas was produced by living bacteria either early or late in the life of the formation. Thermogenic shales are those where gas is produced from being "cooked" out of the hydrocarbons in the formation by underground heat.
The New Albany shale lies at a relatively shallow depth in terms of oil and gas drilling, from 600 to 5,000 feet.
The New Albany shale has sufficient natural fractures to provide for the accumulation of gas in pockets. Using directional or horizontal drilling companies can drill across the shale sideways and gather a greater volume of natural gas.
Thickness of source rock quality New Albany Shale across the Illinois Basin is approximately 20 ft. The greatest thickness is located near the intersection of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
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Among the major players in the New Albany shale are Atlas Energy, which holds leases of over 284,000 acres. It has announced in a press release that it plans to drill over one hundred wells on leases that it holds in southwestern Indiana by the end of 2009.
The leases that Atlas Energy holds are located in Sullivan, Knox, Greene, Owen, Clay and Lawrence counties of southwestern Indiana.
The leases are within the northern “biogenic” part of the New Albany Shale where several companies have made over forty successful horizontal wells. The company reports that the average estimated ultimate recovery from each well will be approximately 1.3 Billion cubic feet.
Baseline Oil and Gas reports that it holds leases of 32,340 net acres. "There could be over 500 wells to drill on our 171,000 gross acres should this resource play prove economical (Baseline owns an average 18.9% working interest in the 171,000 acres)".
Rex Energy has leases of over 308,000 acres in the heart of the New Albany Shale and is currently active in drilling.
The map below shows the extent of the 60,000 square mile Illinois Basin in which the New Albany Shale is contained.
The map below indicates possible gas reserves in the New Albany shale of 86 to 160 trillion cubic feet.