The New Albany Shale Gas Play in Southern Indiana
John B. Comer, Nancy R. Hasenmueller, Maria D. Mastalerz, John A. Rupp, Nelson R. Shaffer, and Charles W. Zuppann
Indiana Geological Survey, Bloomington, Indiana 47405
The New Albany Shale (Devonian and Mississippian) in Indiana is mostly brownish-black organic-rich shale with lesser greenish-gray shale. The formation is 100 to 140 feet thick in southeastern Indiana and dips and thickens to the southwest into the Illinois Basin, where it attains a thickness of 337 feet in Posey County.
Gas production from New Albany Shale began in 1885 and drilling activity continued into the 1930s, when interest waned in favor of more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Renewed activity, driven by higher gas prices, has been brisk since the mid-1990s, witnessed by the completion of more than 400 productive wells. The majority of these wells were drilled in Harrison County, where production typically occurs at depths from 500 to 1,100 feet and production rates generally range from 20 to 450 MCFGPD. In the past 2 years, Daviess County and surrounding areas have become the focus of New Albany exploration after the El Paso Production No. 2-10 Peterson horizontal discovery well was rumored to have tested 1.3 MMCFGPD at an approximate measured depth of 2,200 feet.
New Albany production is mostly from the organic-rich Clegg Creek Member. Gas compositions (C1-C4 and CO2) and carbon and hydrogen isotopic signatures indicate that both purely thermogenic and mixed thermogenic and biogenic gases are produced from the New Albany. Produced water ranges from brine to water diluted through recharge by modern precipitation; the brine zones contain primarily thermogenic gas and the diluted water zones contain gas of mixed thermogenic and biogenic origin.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90059©2006 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Buffalo, New York