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The sixth forum in the virtual series, “The Next Chapter in Unconventionals - Learning from the Past and Opportunities for the Future,” focused on the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Appalachian basin.

The objective of the forum was to bring key players together to:

🗹 Exchange knowledge on what we did, why we did it, and what worked and did not work

🗹 Collaborate on how we can use such learnings to be better prepared for the future of Marcellus and Utica shale development.

Hear Mathias' experiences at his first forum and what the SPE forums mean to him.


The Appalachian basin covers over 100,000 square miles and is the most prolific gas basin in the United States. Currently, most development activity and production come from the Marcellus and Utica shales in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The Appalachian basin serves as a highly commercial and scalable producer of clean-burning natural gas in the United States. As a result, the basin continues to garner global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) interest as a means to meet a growing energy need with a climate-sensitive fuel.  



The Marcellus shale is a prolific resource play in the Appalachian basin with production from both dry and wet gas fluid windows.  Since the beginning of horizontal development in the mid-2000s, the Marcellus shale has grown from 0.1 to 27 Bcfpd and is currently the largest natural gas play in the United States. The Marcellus shale accounts for 33% of total U.S. shale gas production, more than the next two largest shale gas plays combined.  In addition to the underlying subsurface advantages, the Marcellus shale benefits from an expansive gathering and transport infrastructure which provides access to strong markets across the U.S.   

The Utica shale spans various fluid windows from heavy oil in the western portion of the play to dry gas in the deeper and higher-pressure eastern portion of the play. The first horizontal well was drilled in 2010 and placed into production in 2011. Since then, the play has steadily grown and currently contributes approximately 8 Bcfpd of production to the Appalachian basin. Optimization tactics from the Marcellus were quickly applied to the Utica which rapidly reduced the learning curve to modernize development strategies. Also, similarities in well designs and produced fluids have allowed for newer technologies to be applied to intra-bench and inter-bench development in both plays.  



Technology and learnings continually advance in the Marcellus and Utica to meet evolving challenges confronted by both private and public operators.   

Maximizing incremental program returns while improving operational stewardship in the Marcellus and Utica will require:   

🗹 Advanced subsurface characterization cognizant of dynamic stress and pressure conditions 

🗹 Field development optionality with emphasis on co-development and in-fill development considerations 

🗹 Asset management ensuring accretive flow-assurance at the well, pad, and system level   

🗹 Extending applications of advanced data analytics and influence of ESG stewardship 


Who Should Attend

Subsurface Managers and Engineers

Reservoir Managers and Engineers

Asset Development Managers

Drilling and Completions Managers and Engineers

Geoscience Disciplines focused on reservoir characterization

E&P Environmental, Social and Governance Influencers

Technology Providers

Consultants and Service Providers

Production Engineers and Managers