American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.


For the past 2-1/2 years, Columbia Gas System, through its Research Department and operating Companies, has conducted an exhaustive study of the Upper and Middle Devonian Shales in Columbia's operating territory in Appalachia. The various aspects of this study include gas reserves, depletion characteristics, method of containment, recovery technology and economics.

This study has indicated that the total natural gas reserves of the Appalachian Devonian Shales, in a five-state area of Columbia's principal operations, could be as great as principal operations, could be as great as 285 trillion cubic feet, although the magnitude of recoverable reserves depends on the stimulation technology available or developed and the allowable natural gas price level.

With this indication of large potential reserves, what is the "State of the Art" for the future development of Devonian Shale? In discussion of this potential, the following topics will be presented:

  1. Geological Description

  2. Potential Reserves

  3. Method of Containment and Depletion Characteristics

  4. Recovery Technology and Future Planning

Geological Description

The Upper and Middle Devonian Shales are very extensive formations of considerable thickness as shown in Figure 1. The Devonian Shales underlie approximately 100,000 square miles in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. We estimate that Pennsylvania, and New York. We estimate that in this area there are approximately 460 trillion tons of Shale readily accessible to the drill, almost all of which is above 10,000 feet in depth. It should also be noted that the same formations underlie approximately 150,000 square miles in adjacent areas in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas but will not be considered in this paper. paper.

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