This paper addresses the risks and rewards associated with Devonian shale gas wells in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. In the development thereof, both geo-science and geostatistical studies were pursued. A geoscience approach was used to identify the plays or groups of counties in each of the three states having similar geology. Within these plays, data from existing wells were acquired to quantify reservoir parameters (pressure, depth, well spacing, and productive interval), Afterwards, a dual-porosity, single-phase simulator was used to forecast expected performance from stimulated wells. Using these curves, reserves were estimated for each play.

A geostatistical approach was used to rank and quantify the risk (probability of production) associated with drilling and producing Devonian shale wells in selected plays. The rewards associated with new well drilling ventures were addressed in the economic parameters of payout time and return on investment. This study should be of interest to Appalachian independents and businesses considering development of shale gas wells. It should reduce considerable uncertainty relative to areas worthy of drilling and, within them, options for stimulation.

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