In 2012, Statoil acquired additional acreage in the Marcellus, where we are currently transitioning into operatorship. In total Statoil’s acreage in the Marcellus is approximately 665,000 net acres.
Named after an outcrop in the New York town of Marcellus, the Marcellus shale formation was known for its black shale – making it easy to spot in the field.
Today it is suspected to be the second largest natural gas field in the world, spanning approximately 95,000 square miles. The Marcellus extends throughout much of the Appalachian Basin, stretching across several states on the eastern seaboard including Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.
The formation lies about a mile below the surface and is accessed by wells with a typical depth of 12,000 feet, with 5,500 feet long horizontal laterals.
Middle Devonian in age, the organic-rich shale is low density, containing largely untapped natural gas reserves. These reserves, along with its proximity to high-demand energy markets on the eastern coast of the US, support its attractiveness for energy development.
In 2008, Statoil acquired an interest in the Marcellus shale acreage from Chesapeake Energy Corporation. This joint venture agreement marked our entry into the exploration and production of shale gas.
Four years later, we purchased additional acreage in the liquids rich part of the play, building the Statoil acreage to approximately 665,000 net acres in the Marcellus. As of March 2013, there are 14 operating rigs on our acreage, and we are producing around 86,000 boe per day. Today, we are transitioning into operatorship in our newly acquired acreage.
Horizontal wells with hydraulic fractures are needed in order to establish productivity in shale gas reservoirs.
In a hydraulic fracturiation operation, water and sand under high pressure are injected into the formation in order to extract the gas from the reservoir.
This illustrates a completed shale gas well with hydraulic fractures. (illustration: Statoil)
This illustration shows an example of a shale gas development with several well pad sites. Each well pad has six producing wells.
Multiple horizontal wells per pad limit footprint and impact on the surface (illustration: Statoil).