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The Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR) is Penn State's education and research initiative on unconventional gas plays. We serve state agencies, elected and appointed officials, communities, landowners, industry, environmental groups and other stakeholders. We are committed to expanding research capabilities on technical aspects of developing this resource and to providing science-based programming while protecting the Commonwealth's water resources, forests and transportation infrastructure. MCOR is internally funded by the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment and Penn State Outreach.
HOW MUCH NATURAL GAS CAN THE MARCELLUS SHALE PRODUCE?--aN eXPLANATION
The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) released its 2012 Annual Energy Outlook on January 23, with the claim that the Marcellus shale contains 141 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of unproved technically recoverable natural gas. That estimate reignited the debate begun in spring 2011 about whether the amount of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale has been overestimated. The key to comprehending the wide-ranging estimates of the Marcellus shale’s natural gas reserves lies in understanding the nuances of the terms applied to oil and gas reserve estimates—namely proved, unproved, undiscovered and technically recoverable.
Some of the most recent estimates of Marcellus shale reserve volumes are summarized below to allow a better understanding of their significance.
• In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory estimated the Marcellus shale’s original gas-in-place is approximately 1,500 TCF.
• In 2009, Penn State geologist Dr. Terry Engelder estimated the Marcellus shale has a 50% probability of ultimately yielding 489 TCF of natural gas, which is considered to be technically recoverable reserves.
NEW UTICA SHALE MAPS
New maps showing the depth and thickness of the Utica Shale are now on the MCOR maps page. The MCOR produced Marcellus Shale depth and thickness maps have also recently been updated.