A Quick Look at Some Major US Oil and Gas Shale Plays

January 29, 2016

A petroleum play, often referred to simply as a play, is a group of prospective oil or gas fields in a geographic region. The plays are linked by the geological conditions that formed them. There are several typical steps in the cycle of a play, such as initial observations of potential, testing to estimate possible extractions, actual extraction, production of oil from the reserve, and then lower success until depletion occurs. Here is a quick look at some of the major oil and gas shale plays in the United States.

Anadarko – Located in the Anadarko Basin, this play runs from southern and central to the northwest region of Oklahoma. This play contains gas in the northwest, and then turns into a condensate and oil window. Liquids can be found at 11,500 to 14,500 foot depths and 40 to 300 foot thicknesses.

Antrim Shale – Located inside the Michigan Basin there are 39,000 square miles of Antrim Shale play, which produce carbon dioxide and methane. Thicknesses vary from 60 to 220 feet, and contain 31 to 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In the 1990s, this play was one of the most active in the United States.

Austin Chalk – The Austin Chalk play is located in Mississippi, Southern Texas, and Louisiana. Although there are some questions about whether the regions are commercially suited, the play does contain natural gas, oil, and is intertwined with the Eagle Ford shale. This play is 50 miles wide, 250 miles long, and 50 to 600 feet thick. The target depths of the shale are 5,600 feet.

Avalon Shale – The Avalon Shale is also called the Leonard Shale. It is in the Midland and Delaware Basins. Its wells are produce about 28% gas, 31% NGLs, and 41% oil.

Bakken – This play is located in the northwest region of Montana. It is also underlaid by the Three Forks Formation. There is an estimated 13 to 15 million barrels of oil in this play.

Barnett Shale and Combo Shale – The Barnett Shale is located near Fort Worth, Texas. Its liquid production hovers around 85% at relatively inexpensive vertical wells, 1,500 to 1,700 feet. This shale play covers around 5,000 square miles and has generated an abundant amount of natural gas.

Bend Shale – In the southern region of the Texas Panhandle and Palo Duro Bain, there is potential for producing natural gas in the Bend Shale play. The depths are between 7,000 and 10,500 feet and the thicknesses are between 500 and 1,000 feet.

Bone Spring Oil Field – In the Bone Spring Oil Field, there are three zones, and all are located within the Delaware Basin. Bone Spring covers 4,390 square miles and has thicknesses of 150 to 350 feet. Wells generate NGLs, gas, and oil, which are gathered at depths of between 6,000 and 9,800 feet.

Bossier Shale – The Bossier Shale is organic-rich and highly pressured, which results in an eight to nine percent matrix porosity. This play is approximately 500 to 800 feet away from the Haynesville Shale, which is located in east Texas, southwestern Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana. Haynesville and Bossier are so close that they were once considered one play, but they have since been divided and reclassified as separate entities.

Chattanooga Shale – This play is also called the Ohio Shale, and has targets 3,000 to 5,000 feet deep. The area covered by the Chattanooga spans New York to Kentucky, with a region in the Appalachian Basin. As it crosses Alabama, it is called the Black Warrior Basin, and thicknesses shift from 80 feet to 1,000.

Conasauga Shale – The Conasauga Shale is located in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama; it goes south into Cherokee County and Talladega County. This play is one of the thickest on the planet and is a major producer of shale gas.

Cumnock Shale – The rock in this North Carolina shale is 800 feet, contains good quality organic matter, and is a likely prospect for natural gas. Because there has been little activity in the region so far, success rates are still up in the air.

Excello Shale – The Excello Shale play is situated in the Cherokee Basin. It has an approximate resource of six Tcf. The geographic region it spans is in northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas.

Fayetteville Shale – Thicknesses of 50 to 550 feet are reached in Fayetteville Shale, which is located in the Arkoma Basin of Arkansas. This play is 1,500 to 6,500 deep and runs 50 miles north to south.

Granite and Hogshooter Washes – Situated in the eastern Texas Panhandle, the Granite Wash has a high amount of condensate, NGLs, and 160-mile long reservoir. Hogshooter Wash is very much like it, although it spreads into a different county.

Smackover Brown Dense Shale – In Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana, the Smackover Brown Dense Shale is drawing a lot of interest in the oil community. It is believed that it could contain as much as a billion barrels of oil.

The United States has a wide variety of oil and gas shale plays. The nation’s geographic diversity lends itself to a wide variety of mineable petroleum products. As the US ramps up its oil and gas production the goal of North American energy independence seems more and more within reach. STI Group is proud to service America’s energy sector.