GlobalData’s latest report, “Marcellus and Utica shales in the US, 2021 – Oil and Gas Shale Market Analysis and Outlook to 2025” provides a comprehensive review of hydrocarbon appraisal and development in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of the Appalachia basin against the backdrop of the Covid -19 pandemic. The report also provides an outlook for oil and gas production in these plays until 2025, along with the competitive positioning of major operators.
The Marcellus and Utica shales are gas-rich formations spread across four states in the US Lower 48, namely Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the proved reserves of natural gas in these plays were estimated to be 174 trillion cubic feet (tcf), cumulatively, at the end of 2019.
The natural gas plays of the Appalachia basin saw a minimal change in drilling and production activity in 2020 during the global energy demand slowdown from Covid-19. During the fourth quarter of 2020 and into January 2021, the Marcellus and Utica shale plays saw an increase in production, before levelling out in the first and second quarters of 2021. In July 2021, there was again a slight increase in gas production to almost 29 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd).
According to GlobalData, natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shales is projected to maintain a stable growth trend during the forecast period of 2021-25. Crude oil production is expected to show differing outlook across the Marcellus and Utica shales. While production in the Marcellus might exceed pre-pandemic levels during 2022-25, it is anticipated to show a flat trend in the Utica shale over the same period.
According to GlobalData, major operators in the Marcellus play during 2020 were EQT Corp, Antero Resources, and Southwestern Energy. These drillers primarily carried out drilling activities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In the case of the Utica shale, Ascent Resources, Gulfport Energy, and National Fuel Gas were the top producers that targeted oil and gas wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania.