National Assessment of Oil and GasAssessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the East CoastMesozoic Basins of the...
Table 1.  East Coast Mesozoic basin assessment results.[MMBO, million barrels of oil; BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas; MMB...
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USGS Assessment of East Coast Natural Gas Basins including the South Newark Basin


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The overview of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey of smaller rock formations along the East Coast of the United States, focusing on five basins, including the South Newark Basin. The study gives estimates for the amount of natural gas and natural gas liquids each formation is likely to contain. The South Newark Basin is currently in the news because it was exempted from drilling in Pennsylvania until 2018 under the state budge passed June 30, 2012.

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USGS Assessment of East Coast Natural Gas Basins including the South Newark Basin

  1. 1. National Assessment of Oil and GasAssessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the East CoastMesozoic Basins of the Piedmont, Blue Ridge Thrust Belt, AtlanticCoastal Plain, and New England Provinces, 2011Introduction black shales, and coal. These deposits Source Rocks represent the diverse fluvial to deltaic The source rocks for oil and gas During the early opening of the and lacustrine environments that existed within the Mesozoic basins include theAtlantic Ocean in the Mesozoic Era, within the basins. The rifting ended gray and black shales and the coal beds.numerous extensional basins formed along early in the Jurassic with the onset of The shales accumulated in nearshorethe eastern margin of the North Americancontinent from Florida northward to New regional volcanism and intrusion of deltas, in interdistributary bays, andEngland and parts of adjacent Canada. The diabase dikes and sills. in the deeper portions of the lakes thatbasins extend generally from the offshoreAtlantic continental margin westward 87° 83° 79° 75° 71°beneath the Atlantic Coastal Plain to VT. . MASSthe Appalachian Mountains. Using a Y ORK Hartford basin NEWgeology-based assessment method, the CONN . R.I.U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated MICHIGA Na mean undiscovered natural gas resource DA AT ES NA STof 3,860 billion cubic feet and a mean CA TED I South Newark basin 42° UN ANIA North Newark basinundiscovered natural gas liquids resource PENN SYLVof 135 million barrels in continuous NEW JERSE Y Gettysburg basinaccumulations within five of the EastCoast Mesozoic basins (fig. 1; table 1): OHIO Delmarva basins INDIANAthe Deep River, Dan River-Danville, and Culpeper basinRichmond basins, which are within the WEST IA VIRGINPiedmont Province of North Carolina and VIRGIN IA Taylorsville basinVirginia; the Taylorsville basin, which is Richmond basinalmost entirely within the Atlantic Coastal 38° Dan River–Plain Province of Virginia and Maryland; KENTUCKY Danville basinand the southern part of the Newark basin OLINA(herein referred to as the South Newark NORT H CARbasin), which is within the Blue Ridge TENNESSEE Deep River basinThrust Belt Province of New Jersey Cumberland–(fig. 1). The provinces, which contain Florence basin Marlboro basinthese extensional basins, extend across SOUTH CA ROLINAparts of Georgia, South Carolina, North EXPLANATIONCarolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, 34° Assessed basin GEORGIAPennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Unassessed basin South GeorgiaConnecticut, and Massachusetts (fig. 1). ALABAMA basin Appalachian Basin Province The basins formed along the conti- Blue Ridge Thrust Belt Provincenental margin in response to the regional Piedmont Province North Florida basinuplift, extension (rifting), and crustal Atlantic Coastal Plain Provincethinning that occurred during the early New England Provinceopening of the Atlantic Ocean in middleCarnian (Late Triassic) time, approxi- 30° FLORIDA 0 120 240 Milesmately 227 million years ago. The basins 0 140 280 Kilometerswere filled with a variety of sediments Figure 1.  Map of the Eastern United States showing the locations of the five quantitativelyas they formed, including boulder beds, (volumetrically) assessed East Coast Mesozoic basins, the nine basins that were notcoarse-grained fluvial to deltaic sand- volumetrically assessed, and the U.S. Geological Survey province boundaries. Each basinstones, red siltstones, mudstones, gray and includes one continuous gas assessment unit (tables 1, 2).U.S. Department of the Interior Fact Sheet 2012–3075 Printed on recycled paperU.S. Geological Survey June 2012
  2. 2. Table 1.  East Coast Mesozoic basin assessment results.[MMBO, million barrels of oil; BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas; MMBNGL, million barrels of natural gas liquids; TPS, total petroleum system; AU, assessment unit. Results shown are fullyrisked estimates. For gas accumulations, all liquids are included as NGL (natural gas liquids). F95 represents a 95-percent chance of at least the amount tabulated; other fractiles are definedsimilarly. Fractiles are additive under the assumption of perfect positive correlation. Gray shading indicates not applicable] Total undiscovered resources Total Petroleum System (TPS) Field Oil (MMBO) Gas (BCFG) NGL (MMBNGL) and Assessment Unit (AU) type F95 F50 F5 Mean F95 F50 F5 Mean F95 F50 F5 Mean Taylorsville Basin Composite TPS Taylorsville Basin Continuous Gas 516 985 1,880 1,064 16 34 71 37 Gas AU Richmond Basin Composite TPS Richmond Basin Continuous Gas 99 194 382 211 4 10 20 11 Gas AU Newark Basin Composite TPS South Newark Basin Continuous Gas 363 785 1,698 876 1 4 10 4 Gas AU Deep River Basin Composite TPS Deep River Basin Continuous Gas 779 1,527 2,990 1,660 35 75 158 83 Gas AU Dan River-Danville Basin Composite TPS Dan River-Danville Basin Gas 17 42 106 49 0 0 1 0 Continuous Gas AU Total continuous resources 1,774 3,533 7,056 3,860 56 123 260 135occupied the basins. The majority of the geologic framework, the USGS defined Table 2.  East Coast Mesozoic basins withcoal accumulated in marshes and swamps a composite TPS and an assessment unit probable total petroleum systems that were notthat developed around the basin margins (AU) for continuous accumulations in quantitatively assessed, showing type of totalearly in the depositional history of the each of the 14 major East Coast Mesozoic petroleum system and assessment unit.basins. In addition, smaller amounts rift basins. The basins are present Type of total Type ofof coal accumulated locally within the both onshore and offshore (in State- Basin petroleum assessmentoverlying deltaic deposits. Black shale administered waters) of the Eastern United system unitbeds may range in thickness from a few States (fig. 1). The USGS quantitatively Hartford Composite Continuous gasfeet to several hundred feet. Kerogen in assessed the technically recoverable, North Newark Composite Continuous gasthese beds generally consists of material undiscovered resources within five of the (northern half of total petroleum systems and associated Newark basin)derived from vascular plants and algae, assessment units that demonstrated the Gettysburg Composite Continuous gaswhich are the types of kerogen that are most potential for generating and accumu- Culpeper Composite Continuous gasprone to yield both gas and oil. With Delmarva (basins) Composite Continuous gasrespect to the generation of liquid hydro- lating hydrocarbons (fig. 1; tables 1, 2). Several assessment units appear to contain Cumberland- Composite Continuous gascarbons, the thermal maturation values of Marlborothe source rocks range widely from basin continuous accumulations of gas, within Florence Composite Continuous gasto basin, from within the zone of dry gas both the shale and coal source rocks South Georgia Composite Continuous gas and within the adjacent coarser grained,to immature. The potential reservoirs in North Florida Composite Continuous gas siliciclastic strata. Small amounts of oilthese basins are continuous accumulations and petroliferous hydrocarbons, such asthat encompass a variety of lithologies asphalt, have been detected in some of theranging from boulder conglomerates and wells drilled in these basins. East Coast Mesozoic Basinvery coarse sandstones to mudstone, shale, For the total of the continuousand coal. The shale beds that are interbed- Assessment Team resources, the USGS estimated a meanded with coarser grained strata may act of 3,860 billion cubic feet of gas and a Robert C. Milici (,effectively as seals. mean of 135 million barrels of natural James L. Coleman, Elisabeth L. Rowan, gas liquids (table 1). The available data Troy A. Cook, Ronald R. Charpentier,Resource Summary indicate that, of the five basins that were Mark A. Kirschbaum, Timothy R. Klett, The assessment of the East Coast quantitatively assessed, the Deep River, Richard M. Pollastro, and Christopher J.Mesozoic basins is based on the geologic Taylorsville, and South Newark basins Schenk.and geochemical characteristics of the appear to possess the potential to produceindividual total petroleum systems (TPS) the most hydrocarbons (table 1). Acknowledgmentsthat were recognized within the basins. The East Coast Mesozoic BasinFor the petroleum source rock, the For Further Information Assessment Team acknowledges thecharacteristics include the source rock More information about the East Directors and staff of the State geologicalrichness, thermal maturation, timing of Coast Mesozoic basins and the assessment surveys of North Carolina, Virginia,petroleum generation, and migration; for methodology, as well as other oil and gas Pennsylvania, and New Jersey for provid-the reservoir rocks and seals, they include assessments, total petroleum systems, and ing geological information and assistingtheir stratigraphic position and content assessment units may be found at this USGS with the basin-analysis workshops, whichand petrophysical properties. Using this Web site: were held in preparation for the assessment.