Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AAPG meeting: Shale gas play is hot

Natural gas from shales is the hot exploration play across the U.S. The Bakken Shale in the Dakotas and Barnett Shale in Texas have been developed for a number of years, but the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian basin and others are generating huge interest in industry. The USGS's new reserves assessment for the Bakken got everyone's attention.

For the past 3 days, I've been at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists annual meeting and the shale gas talks and posters are attracting big crowds. On Monday, the Utah Geological Survey poster on shale gas potential around the state had crowds jostling to look at the maps and cores on display. [right: John Lorenz examines cores with Tom Chidsey and Mike Laine of the UGS]

Given the Paleozoic and Mesozoic shales in Utah, we have to wonder if the shales in the northern Arizona portion of the Colorado Plateau may offer similar potential and attraction to the petroleum industry.


  1. Shale drilling is called "High Impact" for a reason. Before getting excited, you should check out the profound affect on the environment.

  2. Sharon, all the fracturing occurs below water aquifers or any other level where there may be a direct impact on human welfare. We are talking about black shales interspersed with carbonates going 10k feet to around 20k feet in the case of the Conasauga. Much less impact than coal mining or mining for rare earths for the drives, batteries, and magnets for wind mills.