AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition

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Utica Shale Petroleum Resource Potential in Quebec, Revised Methodology and Resource Update


In eastern Canada, the Upper Ordovician Utica Shale has been, since the early days of hydrocarbon exploration in southern Quebec, considered as an excellent hydrocarbon source rock for conventional hydrocarbon systems. The paradigm shift towards its significance for unconventional resource play started in mid-2000 with initial drilling and testing of the Utica Shale with the best IP values of 11 MMcf/d and a stabilized rate after 30 days of 2 MMcf/d. Recent study suggests that Utica Shale is a hybrid resource play with characteristics of mixed reservoirs varying from tight siltstone to organic rich shale. Such a hybrid tight-shale resource play is commonly a closed petroleum system with the crude oil and natural gas originating from organic-rich shale and being stored within the stratigraphic intervals including the tight reservoirs. The matrix porosity may provide the principal storage for expelled petroleum, whereas additional petroleum remains within “organic” pores in the source rock. The matrix and organic pores have very different physical and chemical properties including, water/oil wettability, pore size distribution, and natural gas adsorption capacity. The geological controls of these two porous media types vary significantly and have important implications in resource evaluation. To address the problem of mixed porous media, a dual-porosity model with revised organic porosity estimation is under development and has been applied to the Utica Shale in southern Quebec to evaluate the oil and gas resource potential. This presentation describes the method and recent enhancements and their impact on the resource potential estimation for the Utica Shale in southern Quebec. The new expected in-place resources include 164 TCF of natural gas and 1.8 billion barrels of oil.