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Statement of Project Objectives
Creating a Geologic Play Book for Appalachian Basin Trenton-Black River Exploration
West Virginia University Research Corporation 05/18/04
Solicitation No. DE-PS26-02NT41613-09
The prime objective of this proposed basin-wide research effort is to develop
an integrated, multi-faceted, resource-assessment model of Trenton-Black River
reservoirs in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. A second objective is to define
possible fairways within which to conduct more detailed studies, leading to
further development of the gas resources in Ordovician fractured carbonates
of the Appalachian basin. A third objective is to develop an integrated structural-diagenetic-stratigraphic
model for the origin of Trenton-Black River hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs.
These objectives will be achieved by creating an industry-government research
consortium to conduct geologic, petrographc and geochemical studies in eight
task areas. The research will be conducted by the Appalachian Oil and Natural
Gas Research Consortium and administered through the West Virginia University
B. SCOPE OF WORK
To facilitate increased exploration and higher success rates in this emerging
play, our approach will be to create a detailed and multi-disciplinary play
book. This scientific data package will be designed for explorationists; both
those currently involved in the play, and those from other basins who need to
come up to speed as quickly as possible to get involved in the play. The tasks
of this proposed study include:
• Structural and seismic analysis and mapping
• Analysis of stratigraphic relationships and thickness mapping of key
• Analysis of petrographic data and synthesis of depositional environments
• Analysis of isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion data
• Analysis and summary of petroleum geochemical data
• Analysis of production data/histories and horizontal well technology
• Data, GIS, and website management
• Project management
Staff from each of the five state agencies on the research team will be responsible
for gathering data and interpreting formation tops and geology from within their
state, and assisting wherever feasible on all tasks. However, each agency will
take lead responsibility on tasks as outlined below.
C. TASKS TO BE PERFORMED
Task 1.0 - Structural and Seismic Investigations - Kentucky Geological
The Trenton-Black River fractured carbonate play appears to be heavily dependent
upon basement structure for both fracture generation and the migration of hydrothermal
fluids needed for dolomitization. Evidence suggests that in both the dolomitized
reservoirs in New York (e.g. Gloades Corners field) and Ohio (e.g. York field),
and the fractured limestone reservoir in West Virginia (e.g. Cottontree field),
the host fractures were created from minor movements along basement-rooted faults.
In addition, where increased porosity from dolomitization is a factor, the hydrothermal
fluids needed for alteration likely migrated through basal sandstones until
they reached the affected fracture/fault conduits. In fact, some researchers
have hypothesized that these basal sandstone units altered the geochemistry
of fluids migrating through them such that dolomitization could occur upon exiting
Because the play appears to be basement-dependent, a first approach will be
to produce an up-to-date structure contour map on the Precambrian surface, including
fault locations and major structural axes, which may be prime indicators of
potential Trenton-Black River fairways or target areas. All structures will
be included on one map, but those faults that are interpreted to have had an
influence on Trenton-Black River reservoirs will be displayed on a separate
map. There are numerous sets of fractures and faults throughout the basin, but
not all of these have produced Trenton-Black River dolomite or fractured reservoirs.
Discriminating structures that are related to the play from those that formed
earlier or later in the various areas and under varying tectonic conditions
will be critical. Additional horizons will be selected for structure contour
mapping and may include, but will not be restricted to: the Knox Unconformity,
top of Trenton limestone and top of Ordovician. These maps will be created using
available 2D reflection seismic data, geophysical well log interpretation and
public domain gravity and magnetic data. Initially, the structural effort will
take advantage of in-house seismic data at the participating agencies. However,
efforts will be made to acquire other data at low or no cost.
Finally, the fracture linkages between the dispersal medium and the potential
host carbonates of the Trenton, Black River and Beekmantown intervals will be
evaluated for zones of likely hydrothermal dolomite development, taking into
consideration the age and style of the fracturing and the timing of hydrothermal
Task 2.0 - Stratigraphic Analysis and Thickness Mapping of Key Units
- Ohio Geological Survey
Type well logs from each producing area will be analyzed and available samples,
cores and FMI (formation micro-imaging) logs tied to geophysical logs for correlation
purposes. A regional, interconnected network of cross sections will be constructed
to define stratigraphic relationships, facies changes and sequence boundaries.
This stratigraphic analysis may indicate units or surfaces that require additional
mapping and analysis. This cross section network also will establish the formation/interval
boundaries to be used in structural and isopachous mapping, and will provide
insight into the structural relationships between basement, Cambrian sandstones
and Trenton-Black River fault systems. Using past literature and this cross
section network, a regional correlation chart will be prepared.
There is some indication that the presence and thickness of the basal Cambrian
sandstone may be critical in the development of hydrothermal dolomites. A thick,
continuous unit of sandstone would provide a medium for the dispersal of basement
fluids thought critical in charging the fractures involved in the development
of Trenton-Black River hydrothermal dolomites. Maps of the distribution and
thickness of the basal sandstones will be included.
Input will be sought from participating companies on which other units should
be mapped. likely candidates would include: the Knox Group, the Trenton-Black
River interval and Upper Ordovician shales and limestones. These maps will be
created using geophysical well logs, driller’s records and available 2D
reflection seismic data where appropriate.
Task 3.0 - Petrographic Analysis – Pennsylvania Geological
Petrographic analysis of the Trenton-Black River carbonates will provide descriptions
of depositional facies, a reconstruction of the diagenetic history of the rocks
and documentation of the porosity systems in the reservoirs. The distribution
of porosity in the Trenton-Black River carbonates defines the locations of existing
and potential petroleum reservoirs. Documentation of porosity systems in the
Trenton-Black River rocks will provide a clear conception of the origin and
three-dimensional distribution of pores. This information will reveal the pathways
hydrocarbons followed from their source to the reservoir and then to the wellbore.
This information is vital to efficient well placement and well-stimulation design.
Petrographic data also help geologists and petroleum engineers to improve their
interpretation of wireline log responses and to better map porosity, fluid saturations
All of the known Trenton-Black River reservoirs, except the West Virginia
fields, which produce from fractured, non-dolomitized limestone, are reportedly
developed in hydrothermal dolomites. Hydrothermal dolomites are well-documented
in Kentucky outcrops, and preliminary work on cores in Pennsylvania reveals
hydrothermal dolomites in the Trenton-Black River interval in the subsurface
of northwestern, and possibly northeastern, Pennsylvania. Because the play appears
contingent upon specific petrologic characteristics, we plan to obtain and provide
comprehensive petrographic data on the depositional facies, diagenetic history
and porosity systems in the Trenton-Black River for the entire basin.
Our first task will be to identify all available subsurface samples from cores
and high-quality cuttings. We also will target appropriate outcrops within the
study area for field descriptions and sampling. All samples will be processed
through a first-run description of lithology and analyzed by x-ray diffraction
for a precise determination of mineralogy.
We also propose to address the petrography of the interbedded shales in the
Trenton-Black River sequence to support our interpretations of depositional
environments and source rock geochemistry.
Once we have completed a comprehensive petrographic study of the Trenton-Black
River in the basin, we will summarize our most pertinent observations about
the nature of porosity in these unique units and present case histories that
reveal variations in reservoir development in different areas. Finally, petrologic
observations summarized in these case histories will be integrated with the
regional geologic framework constructed by other members of the research team
to help predict the location of new Trenton-Black River reservoirs in the basin.
We also will analyze the mineralogy of fracture surfaces in core samples to
unravel the history of fluid migrations through the Trenton-Black River carbonates.
Specific analytical techniques will be selected as needed and deemed appropriate
after we assess all samples.
Task 4.0 - Isotope Geochemistry and Fluid Inclusion Analysis – New York
Sampling for and analysis of fluid inclusions, stable isotopes, trace elements
and strontium isotopes will be carried out using representative wells from across
the basin. Samples from matrix dolomites, fracture- and vug-filling dolomites,
and unaltered limestone will be chosen from fields in each state where available.
These new data will be integrated with existing data and used in the development
of an overall model for dolomitization. Further, these data and interpretations
will be integrated with other analyses from this investigation in the development
of an integrated structural-diagenetic-stratigraphic model for the origin of
the Trenton-Black River hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs.
Task 5.0 - Petroleum Geochemistry - Pennsylvania Geological Survey
Organic geochemistry is a critical component of sedimentary basin analysis.
Organic geochemistry provides analytical data used to identify and map petroleum
source rocks. Specific maps include organic richness, type of organic matter
and thermal maturity of a source rock. Such maps are essential elements of any
effort to determine the stratigraphic and geographic distribution of effective
source rocks in a petroleum system.
There is some controversy concerning the petroleum source rocks for the Trenton-Black
River reservoirs of eastern North America. Obermajer and others (1999) and Colquhoun
and Trevail (2000) suggest that the Trenton strata of Ontario are a mainly self-sourcing
petroleum system with short-range migration, and they propose that this may
be the case for Trenton-Black River reservoirs elsewhere. Ryder and others (1998)
advocate a Utica Shale-Antes Shale source for the Ordovician carbonate reservoirs
in the Appalachian basin. There appears to be merit to both arguments. Effective
source rocks are documented in both the Trenton limestones and the Utica and
Antes shales of the Appalachian basin (Cole and others, 1987; Wallace and Roen,
1989; unpublished data at the Pennsylvania Geological Survey).
We plan to approach the petroleum geochemistry of the Trenton-Black River in
two ways. First, we will summarize all existing data from unpublished and published
sources. Second, we plan to obtain new organic geochemical analyses for cores
and samples from throughout the basin. Analyses will include total organic carbon
(TOC), Rock-Eval Pyrolysis, extract analyses (bitumen and hydrocarbons), organic
petrography, thermal alteration index and conodont alteration indices. Products
of these analyses will include geochemical well logs and source rock maps showing
thickness, organic richness and thermal maturity of effective source rocks for
We also propose budgeting for selected stable isotopic analyses of gases from
producing Trenton-Black River reservoirs in the basin. δ13
C of hydrocarbon gases
and δD of methane will provide specific information on the source, maturity
and migration history of these gases.
Task 6.0 - Analysis of Production Data/Histories and Horizontal Well Technology
– West Virginia Geological Survey and the New York State Museum
Available production data on this developing play are very limited. Those production
histories that are available will be gathered, documented and summarized. If
sufficient data exist, production maps will be constructed and decline curve
analysis attempted. Also, if data warrant, production amounts will be compared
to productive interval thickness, completion practices, etc. to investigate
if statements can be made concerning preferred methods.
Several tens of horizontal wells have been drilled on Trenton-Black River
structures in Ontario, Canada on the northern edge of the Appalachian basin.
Horizontal drilling is a technology that may help to make Trenton-Black River
fields more economically viable and cut down on dry holes. Our research will
include successful horizontal well plans and analysis of dry holes vs. productive
wells for both vertical and horizontal wells. Furthermore, we will attempt to
learn the average production rates and ultimate recovery for horizontal vs.
Task 7.0 - Data, GIS, and Website Management – West Virginia Geological
The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) has the rights to the GEOFILE Appalachian
seismic data, consisting of 3,400 miles of 100 percent digital data in Kentucky,
West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. These rights allow KGS to use the
data for interpretation purposes, and with permission of the owner, SEISCO,
Inc., to publish selected parts of the data. The Ohio Geological Survey has
approximately 450 miles of public-domain 2D reflection seismic data available.
Additional seismic data will be sought from industry and other government sources.
Often, for research purposes, data may be obtained at little or no cost.
Each consortium partner has public-domain gravity and aeromagnetic data, drilling
and completion records for oil and gas wells, production data, geophysical logs
(many in digital format), samples, cores, miscellaneous analytical data and
reports for use in the project. After inventorying available data, samples and
cores, additions will be sought from industry to fill sparse and no-data areas.
Much of the basic well data already has been compiled in digital form. Digital
basemaps are available to each agency for use in map production. The consortium
agencies are uniquely suited to provide data and analysis for the proposed investigation.
All data, reports, images and maps, either collected or created for this project,
will be integrated in a central computer repository. A secure web site will
be created for the project with user accounts and passwords for researchers
and funding participants. As data are collected and interpretations made they
will be available to account holders on the website. Regardless of what software
is used to create individual maps, they will be converted to ESRI file format
for use in an ArcGIS environment. The website will use ESRI’s ArcIMS system
to integrate and distribute the GIS via the Internet. We expect that, by collecting
data and maps centrally and distributing them live, final report preparation
at the conclusion of the project will be more efficient.
After the agreed upon proprietary period, and perhaps the removal of some company
proprietary data, the website and results will be made available to the public.
Task 8.0 – Project Management – West Virginia Geological Survey
The final project task is to keep the research on schedule, meet all milestones
and deliverable dates, file all required reports on time and stay within the
budget. Overall project management will be provided by the Director of the Appalachian
Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium, with management of each individual
subcontract to be provided by the heads of the oil and gas sections at the State
Geological Surveys and the New York State Museum.
Using the information and interpretations outlined above, the research team
will develop an integrated structural-diagenetic-stratigraphic model for the
origin of the Trenton-Black River hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs. This model
will be employed with structural and tectonic analyses to identify possible
fairways and target areas that are favorable for the creation of productive
pools. Companies may then concentrate their future geophysical and geochemical
programs in these preferred areas, thus increasing their chances of economic
A listing of products to be delivered from this project will include:
- Structure map of the basement, including all faults and axes
- Separate maps of faults of different relative ages and styles
- Structure maps on the Mt. Simon, Trenton-Black River and other formations
- Isopach maps of the Mt. Simon, Trenton-Black River and other formations
- Regional cross section network illustrating relationships of basement
structure to Mt. Simon and host carbonate units
- Isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion report, data and interpretations
- Petrographic report, data and interpretations
- Petroleum geochemical well logs and source rock maps showing thickness,
organic richness and thermal maturity of effective source rocks for the play.
- Production histories and interpretations
- Evaluation of effectiveness of horizontal drilling in the play
- Ordovician dolomite and hydrocarbon fairway and target area maps
- Play book and final digital products: database, GIS files and images
E. BRIEFINGS/TECHNICAL PRESENTATIONS
It is understood that we will prepare and present a detailed briefing for presentation
to the COR in Pittsburgh, Morgantown or Tulsa, as directed, at least twice during
the proposed two-year study. In addition, it is understood that we will present
a technical paper at the DOE/NETL Annual Contractor’s Review Meeting in
either Pittsburgh or Morgantown.
After the end of the contract period, additional technology transfer will be
accomplished via the website, publications, workshops conducted in a cooperative
effort with the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council and presentations at other
regional and national conferences.
Forecasters continue to predict that the United States may need to increase
gas production to 30 trillion cubic feet per year within the next 20 years,
an increase of approximately 40 percent above current production. Faced with
this immediate need to begin converting our gas resources to producible gas
reserves, operators are looking for potentially giant plays in older basins
that will require new approaches or technology to be successful. Such a play
is the current Trenton-Black River gas play of the Appalachian basin, a seismic-dependent,
high-technology, deep play that has attracted national and international attention.
This play currently has producing wells in New York, Ohio, West Virginia and
Ontario, and indications suggest productive trends may be found between and
beyond the current areas of proven reservoirs. Many companies from other parts
of the U.S. and Canada are anxious to enter this deep play, but are not familiar
with the basin geology, tectonics, data sources or regulatory contacts. Further,
because this is a multi-state play, many Appalachian-based operators who would
like to venture into the play are not familiar with these same factors on a
The Trenton and Black River formations currently produce from fractured, dolomitized
zones in New York, Ohio and Ontario, and from fractured zones in West Virginia.
There is a large potential for further development along east-west trends within
the eastern and central Appalachian basin and along northwest-southeast trends
farther to the west. In West Virginia, drilling continues along northeast-trending,
basement-controlled faults associated with the Rome Trough. Recently in that
state, however, there have been fewer discoveries and new approaches are needed
to develop exploration scenarios. More basic research into the controls operating
in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky are needed to understand the potential in
these states. Expanded exploration and development of Cambro-Ordovician gas
plays, which will convert gas resources to gas reserves in the near term, is
extremely important to the future of the basin.
Trenton-Black River hydrothermal dolomites have been prolific oil and gas producers
for more than a century. Drilling began in 1884 and more than 100,000 wells
were drilled in the lima-Indiana trend, producing about 500 million barrels
of oil. The giant Albion-Scipio field in Michigan has produced in excess of
125 million barrels of oil, and the adjacent Stoney Point field another 8 million
barrels of oil and 9 billion cubic feet of gas. A group of smaller fields in
southwest Ontario has produced more than 2 million barrels of oil. These successes
reflect the potential for near term success in expanding our gas reserves in
deep, high-pressured, fractured carbonate reservoirs in the Appalachian basin.
However, this is an expensive, high-technology play, and new approaches and
detection methods are necessary to accurately locate new fields and increase
gas production in the near term from throughout the play area.
The surface occurrence of discreet dolostone bodies in Upper and Middle Ordovician
limestones of the Appalachian basin has been well documented (Black and Haney,
1975) and provides an excellent laboratory for a better understanding of these
important hydrothermal dolomites. These isolated dolostone bodies are spatially
related to mapped faults, and have been interpreted as products of hydrothermal
fluids, which moved along fault conduits, replacing adjacent limestone in the
host formations. Oil and gas production from these formations is attributed
to increased porosity and permeability within hydrothermal dolomites and fractured
limestones, both localized along faults. Often, these faults and fracture zones
derive from relatively small reactivations of much older faults within the Precambrian
basement. Oil and gas reservoirs in the Trenton-Black River play are narrow,
linear, fractured limestone and dolostone bodies, often with vuggy to cavernous
porosity. This well-developed porosity and fault-related fracturing often results
in high oil/natural gas production rates from these fields. Because of their
narrow, linear nature, however, they often are very difficult to locate and
produce. Only by understanding the basinal context and framework can clues to
their location be found.
Scientific and Technical Merit
(1) How the proposed work relates to the “Research Objectives for This
One of our goals is to create a play book for the Trenton-Black River play that
will enable industry to more accurately assess the gas resource in the play,
and greatly increase gas production from the Appalachian basin. This goal, which
is consistent with the stated goal of this solicitation, can be achieved with
the expansion of this play from New York, through Pennsylvania and West Virginia
into Kentucky and adjacent parts of Ohio. Already, just a few dozen Trenton-Black
River wells in New York produce a significant percentage, now in excess of 20
percent, of the gas in a state with more than 20,000 gas wells. These numbers
illustrate the potential that this play has to increase Appalachian basin production
from a deep, over pressured, complex reservoir, or set of reservoirs that may
have a wide extent throughout the basin. This potential, however, cannot be
realized unless new methods can be developed to more fully understand the resource
and new technologies can be developed to detect areas of natural fracturing
and replacement of host limestone by hydrothermal dolomite along these fractures.
Again, these technical needs are consistent with the solicitation for Area of
(2) How the proposed work will result in improvements over existing technologies
Currently, operators locate all exploratory wells in the play based on their
interpretation of 2D seismic lines. Initially, when they did this they were
looking for a sag on the top of the Trenton, which is a reflection of the decrease
in volume as the host limestone was converted to more porous dolomite. However,
this approach does not seem to be as valid in West Virginia, where no dolomite
has been reported. Therefore, a better understanding of how different styles
of reservoirs have formed will lead to better seismic models and methods of
detection. In addition, data, information and interpretations that are not available
to all operators will become available to everyone after the conclusion of this
project. Furthermore, the availability of acreage is a problem in this play,
so operators tend to concentrate their research and exploration efforts in areas
where they hold an acreage position. Therefore, even companies who are currently
involved in the play may feel comfortable with what they have learned in one
or two geographic areas, but are no better off than an outsider in terms of
their knowledge in other areas of the basin. This project would help everyone,
the small companies without a research staff, and the larger independents already
involved in the play. In fact, a number of companies already drilling Trenton-Black
River wells have endorsed this project and have committed to join our proposed
Trenton-Black River Research Consortium.
(3) The degree to which the proposed work identifies and/or makes progress
on new concepts; the likelihood of developing a new successful technology
We are confident that our integrated, multi-disciplinary approach will lead
to a resource assessment model that can be used by industry to their advantage
to more fully develop this play. Our confidence was bolstered by a meeting we
hosted for industry on September 25, 2002 during which we presented the approach
contained within this proposal, and received their enthusiastic endorsement
and commitment to join us. Additional comments and suggestions offered by industry
during that meeting were considered and incorporated into this proposal. Companies
have offered us data and information, for research purposes only, that have
been held confidential to date, that will allow us to do more than can be done
with publicly available information. Among these will be production data on
horizontal as well as vertical wells, which will enable us to evaluate the success
of this technology where it has been applied and determine other areas where
it will have the greatest potential. Another potential partner is considering
a 3D seismic project, the results of which could be made available to us for
(4) The scientific and technical basis and merit of the proposed work
Our approach will include a number of different scientific disciplines, including:
seismic analyses for structural mapping and detection of reservoirs; stratigraphic
analyses, including thickness mapping of key units; analyses of petrographic
data, leading to a synthesis of depositional environments that may control later
dolomitization; isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion analyses, to help develop
an integrated structural-stratigraphic-diagenetic model of the origin of hydrothermal
dolomite reservoirs; organic geochemistry analysis to determine and map petroleum
source rocks; and development of an integrated database and secure website in
a GIS environment, to make information and results readily available to our
company partners. No one, to our knowledge, has attempted such a multi-disciplinary
approach, certainly not at the basin-wide scale that we are proposing.
(5) Anticipated benefits
The results of this project will provide information that should save companies
some exploration money and reduce the cost of finding gas. Thus, industry should
be stimulated to explore a wider area than is the current case. Furthermore,
a better understanding of the geology and reservoir characteristics of these
deeper reservoirs should help to meet natural gas demand in the years to come.
It has been estimated that within twenty years the U.S. demand for natural gas
will exceed 30 Tcf per year, up from approximately 21 Tcf currently. It is imperative
that new targets be identified and drilled to meet this demand, and the Trenton-Black
River Play is considered to have the greatest potential to be the next giant
play in the Appalachian basin.
(6) Feasibility of the proposed concept
Based on our 12-year experience as a research consortium, and on our interaction
with industry involved in the play and supportive of our approach, we consider
our concept to be quite feasible, one that will lead to success. The commitment
of industry to supply additional information, and to provide suggestions on
what their needs are to develop this play, have further strengthened our approach
and our confidence that we will be successful.
Technical Approach and Understanding
The main objectives of this proposed project are: to develop a multi-faceted,
resource-assessment model of the Trenton-Black River Play, enabling operators
to make informed decisions regarding the economics of getting involved in the
play; to define fairways or target areas in which to concentrate detailed studies
and seismic programs, leading to further development of the play; and to develop
an integrated structural-diagenetic-stratigraphic model of the origin of hydrothermal
dolomite, which will lead to better interpretations of seismic data, locations
of fracture zones and selections of drill sites.
These objectives will be achieved through a multi-disciplinary approach involving
seven research tasks. All tasks will be conducted concurrently by an industry-government
research consortium that could involve as many as 20 companies, four state geological
surveys, the New York State Museum and West Virginia University. Industry partners
in the consortium will provide direct cost share as well as data and information
not otherwise available to the public.
(1) Project schedule and major milestones
This is envisioned as a relatively short, two-year study for a project of this
magnitude, so all tasks will be worked on concurrently, with each task lasting
for the duration of the contract period. Our anticipated start date is April
1, 2003, with a completion date of March 31, 2005.
The milestone schedule for major deliverables listed in this proposal is shown
in table 1.
||# Month Due
|Task 1: Structure contour map of basement surface
|Task 1: Structure map of basement faults
|Task 1: Structure maps of the Mt. Simon, Trenton-Black River, etc
|Task 2: Isopach maps of the Mt. Simon, Trenton-Black River, etc
|Task 2: Regional cross sections
|Task 3: Petrographic report
|Task 4: Isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion report
|Task 5: Petroleum geochemistry well logs and source rock maps
|Task 6: Production histories and interpretations
|Task 6: Evaluation of effectiveness of horizontal drilling
|Task 7: Fairways and target areas
|Task 7: Play book, digital products, database and GIS
(2) Staffing plan
A fairly large management and research team will be assembled from among consortium
partners, including a Project Manager; five Team Managers, one for each subcontract;
and 11 research geologists or specialists, plus the necessary support staff
at each survey.
Douglas G. Patchen (WVURC prime contract) will be responsible for project management,
all technical and financial reports and coordination of technology transfer.
K. Lee Avary, James Drahovzal, John Harper, Taury Smith and Larry Wickstrom
will be responsible for the West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York
and Ohio subcontracts, respectively.
Research team members will include the following: Dave Harris and John Hickman,
geologists with the Kentucky Geological Survey; Mark Baranoski and Ron Riley,
geologists with the Ohio Geological Survey; Chris Laughrey and Jaime Kostelnik,
geologists with the Pennsylvania Geological Survey; Michael Hohn, Dave Matchen
and Ron McDowell, geologists with the West Virginia Geological Survey; and a
geologist/GIS specialist and geology technician with the New York State Museum.
Hours required for each task by labor category per project year are listed in
|Labor Categories and Hours
|Task 1: Structural Geologists
|Task 2: Stratigraphers
|Task 3: Petrographers
|Task 4: Geochemists
|Task 5: Geochemists
|Task 6: Geologists
|Task 7: GIS Specialist
|Task 8: Managers
(3) Travel required to perform the proposed work
Three trips have been budgeted to allow us to present two briefings to our COR
at DOE facilities in Pittsburgh, Morgantown, or Tulsa, and a technical paper
at the DOE/NETL Annual Contractor’s Review Meeting at NETL facilities
in either Morgantown or Pittsburgh. Additional travel will be required to visit
up to 20 company partners to seek data and input. These visits have been assigned
to survey partners based on the company’s location to reduce travel costs.
Finally, we plan to hold quarterly meetings in a central location like Pittsburgh
to review the technical progress and status of our research, and to present
briefings to our company partners.
The only air travel that will be involved is a possible trip by the Project
Manager to Tulsa, and flights from Albany to Pittsburgh by our NY State Museum
partner for quarterly meetings.
(4) Applicant’s understanding of the “Research Objectives for this
The stated objectives for Area of Interest 9, Subtopic 4 – Resource assessments,
are to conduct gas resource assessments of major plays to better characterize
the nation’s resource base; to assess on-shore marginal resources, like
fractured carbonates in the Trenton-Black River; and to focus on specified basins,
one of which is the Appalachian basin. Larger goals are to help insure an adequate
supply of natural gas as demand increases; and to meet the need to develop the
technology that is necessary to produce gas from deeper, tighter, more complex,
less understood reservoirs, including better fracture detection methods. This
proposal directly addresses these stated goals and objectives. We propose to
collect and analyze all the information that is necessary to characterize and
assess the resource base in a deep, poorly understood, complex set of reservoirs
in a fractured, often dolomitized carbonate that has a great potential to dramatically
increase gas production in the Appalachian basin.
(5) Prior research and application to proposed work
Our research of the Trenton Play as it existed in 1995, before the current play
began, gave us a basic understanding of basin-wide Trenton stratigraphy, reservoir
types, gas fields and shows at that time. Individual well and gas field data
were entered in databases in the various state surveys, and in the overall field-scale
database for the Gas Atlas project. These databases and other information gathered
for the atlas are available for this project. After the current Trenton-Black
River Play began in New York in 1995, we became involved through our contract
with the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council to host technology workshops.
Our objective was to bring everyone up to speed on the play using publicly available
information and speakers with at least a limited knowledge of various aspects
of the play. Four PTTC workshops were hosted that collectively drew more than
600 registrants, considerable more than the regional and national average of
40-50 per workshop. In addition, one consortium partner, the Kentucky Geological
Survey, was awarded a contract from the New York State Energy Development Authority
for a field and core study of outcrop analogs of the suspected reservoir in
New York. Results from that study will be integrated with results from the proposed
effort. Our New York State Museum partner is conducting its own Trenton-Black
River research, including detailed studies of existing cores and well logs to
interpret Trenton facies that are preferentially dolomitized by hydrothermal
fluids coming up from the basement. The Pennsylvania Geological Survey has in
its possession thin sections from a Trenton well drilled near the Henderson
Dome as part of a DOE-funded Secondary Gas Recovery contract awarded to our
consortium. Again, these data will become part of the petrographic study. The
Pennsylvania Survey also has conducted studies of source rocks and petroleum
geochemistry. Our survey partners in Ohio and West Virginia have actively followed
this play, and have presented numerous papers at regional and national meetings
to increase the awareness of industry at the national level.
Technical and Management Capabilities
The proposed research effort will be conducted by members of a newly-created
Trenton-Black River Research Consortium. This project-specific consortium may
include up to 20 independent gas producers and the full membership of the Appalachian
Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium, which recently was expanded to include
the New York State Museum. Other members include the state geological surveys
in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia, and the National Research
Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. Available personnel
within these organizations bring a wealth of technical knowledge and experience
to this project.
(1) Credentials, capabilities and experience of key personnel
Project management will be provided by the Director of the Appalachian Oil and
Research Consortium, who will be responsible for keeping the project on schedule
all reporting requirements. The supervisors of the oil and gas programs of the
Pennsylvania and West Virginia Geological Surveys and the New York State Museum
and coordinate the research teams in their respective agencies. These five key
professionals will work closely with the Project Manager to keep the effort
Collectively, the personnel who will be assigned to this project have several
of relevant experience in conducting and managing oil and gas related research
projects in the
Appalachian basin. These individuals were part of the research teams that produced
the Atlas of
Major Appalachian Gas plays, enhanced the TORIS database, measured and predicted
heterogeneity in oil fields in Ohio and West Virginia, characterized oil reservoirs
in West Virginia,
were involved in coal-mine methane research in West Virginia and Pennsylvania,
secondary gas recovery research in Pennsylvania, all through consortium contracts
(2) Relevant corporate experience in managing projects of a comparable size
The Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium was formed in 1988 as
a partnership among the state geological surveys in four states and the departments
of Geology & Geography and Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering at West
Virginia University. During the past 14 years, the Consortium has created teams
from the vast talent pool afforded them through this partnership arrangement
to conduct eight, multi-year, DOE-funded research projects. The most visible
product resulting from this work is the “Atlas of Major Appalachian Gas
Plays.” Nearly all of the team members for the proposed effort worked
on the basin-wide gas atlas and TORIS projects.
Overall project management for all AONGRC contracts rests with the Consortium
Director (Patchen), who will serve in the same capacity on this project. In
addition, the heads of the oil and gas programs at the four state surveys (Avary,
Drahovzal, Harper, Wickstrom) who managed their individual subcontracts on all
Consortium projects to date, will serve in similar roles.
Other projects successfully completed by the AONGRC include studies of reservoir
heterogeneity in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania; enhancing the Total Oil
Recovery Information System (TORIS) for the Appalachian basin; secondary gas
recovery efforts focused on the Medina sandstone in Pennsylvania; coal mine
methane utilization in Pennsylvania and West Virginia; reservoir characterization
of oil fields in West Virginia; on-going documentation of preferred upstream
management practices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia oil fields;
and a second current project to implement a technology transfer program throughout
the Appalachian basin for the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council. To date,
these projects have involved more than $10,000,000 in DOE funds and more than
$5,000,000 in cost share from industry and state government.
(3) Overall project organization, roles and responsibilities
The prime contractor for this effort will be the West Virginia University Research
Corporation. The Research Corporation will assign the responsibility to complete
this contract to the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium, which
is a university program under the National Research Center for Coal and Energy.
The Research Corporation will enter into subcontract agreements with each of
the Consortium partners - the Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
Geological Surveys, and the New York State Museum. ultimately, the Directors
of each of these state agencies will be responsible for their subcontracts,
but effectively, the responsibility will rest with the heads of the oil and
gas groups in each agency.
The West Virginia Geological Survey will be responsible for providing the project
manager (Patchen), subcontract manager (Avary), a GIS specialist and three research
geologists, and will be responsible for tasks 6, 7 and 8. The Kentucky Geological
Survey will provide a subcontract manager (Drahovzal) and two research geologists,
and will be responsible for task 1. The Ohio Geological Survey will provide
a subcontract manager (Wickstrom) and two research geologists, and will be responsible
for task 2. The Pennsylvania Geological Survey will provide a subcontract manager
(Harper) and two research geologists, and will assume the lead role in tasks
3 and 5. The New York State Museum will provide a subcontract manager (Smith)
and two additional team members, and will be responsible for task 4.
Although each survey/museum has been assigned the responsibility of a lead
role on a task-by-task basis, research geologists in each survey will have a
role in collecting and interpreting data in their respective states and supplying
the data to the lead survey for each task.
(4) Description of facilities and equipment
In their letters of commitment, the directors of all consortium partners have
committed whatever is necessary to successfully complete this project, not only
specific research and management personnel, but the full use of their facilities
and equipment, including laboratories, vehicles, hardware and software, as well.
Collectively, the consortium has adequate facilities and equipment to complete
the project, and each partner has what is necessary to successfully conduct
and complete their assigned roles. Only a few pieces of new equipment will be
Each survey has a digital database of wells drilled in their respective states,
including all Trenton and deeper wells. Each survey has personnel, hardware
and software capable of generating and printing the maps and cross sections
for this project; conducting the petrographic and geochemical studies; and migrating
key data into a GIS environment and creating interactive websites, although
the responsibility for this task will lie with the West Virginia Geological
Black, D.F.B., and Haney, D.C., 1975, Selected structural features and associated
dolostone occurrences in the vicinity of the Kentucky River Fault System: Kentucky
Geological Survey, Road log for Geological Society of Kentucky 1975 Field Conference,
Guidebook Ser. 10, 27 p.
Colquhoun, I. M. and Trevail, R. A., 2000, Carbonate cores of the Middle Ordovician
Trenton and Black River Groups of southwestern Ontario, Northern Prospects in
the 21st Century, 2000 Eastern Section American Association of Petroleum Geologists,
29th Annual Meeting, Short Course notes, London, Ontario, 54p.
Obermajer, M., Fowler, M. G., and Snowdon, L. R., 1999, Depositional environment
and oil generation in Ordovician source rocks from southwestern Ontario, Canada:
organic geochemical and petrological approach, AAPG Bulletin, v. 83, no. 9,
p. 1426 – 1453.
Ryder, R. T., Burruss, R. C., and Hatch, J. R., 1998, Black shale source rocks
and oil generation in the Cambrian and Ordovician of the central Appalachian
basin, USA, AAPG Bulletin, v. 82, no. 3, p. 412 – 441.
Wallace, L. G. and Roen, J. B., 1989, Petroleum source rock potential of the
Upper Ordovician black shale sequence, northern Appalachian basin, USGS Open
File Report 89-488, 66p.