Home / Energy / Natural gas consultant says Burket shale formation reserves in Pennsylvania may go untapped

Natural gas consultant says Burket shale formation reserves in Pennsylvania may go untapped

Southwestern Pennsylvania has a large reservoir of natural gas deep beneath the surface that the shale gas industry might never fully tap.

The Burket shale, also called the Geneseo formation, is being overshadowed by its big brother Marcellus, said Gregory Wrightstone, owner of Ohio Township-based Wrightstone Energy Consulting.

“The one thing that is incredible to me is that we have a super giant reservoir here in the basin and it’s not attracting the attention,” he said.

Wrightstone will make a pitch on the Burket to a gas industry that has cut back on spending because of low gas prices and might be hesitant to explore a new horizon. He will speak June 25 at the Hart Energy Developing Unconventionals DUG East conference, Downtown.

He talked with the Tribune-Review about challenges of exploring the Burket.

Tribune-Review: Is this the right time for companies to explore a new shale layer?

Wrightstone: That’s one of the puzzling conundrums about the Burket. It probably has half the reserve potential of the Marcellus shale and also is situated in Southwest Pennsylvania less than 400 feet above the Marcellus shale. So there’s the potential that fracking the Marcellus could impact later fracking of the Burket.

Trib: How could that impact it?

Wrightstone: The fracking and production of the Marcellus could create a low pressure sink below the Burket, which may negatively impact later production of the Burket. So for companies now, the conundrum is … if the Burket and the Marcellus are not completed at the same time, it could turn out that later completion of the Burket could not be as effective. Many companies won’t want to spend their precious capital expenses to explore and develop a reservoir with smaller reserve potential than the Marcellus at this time.

Trib: What’s your advice to producers next week on how to approach this if they have the opportunity?

Wrightstone: There are ongoing drilling and completion tests that are happening right now led by various companies … testing completion of the Burket at the same time as the Marcellus. The results of those tests will drive the decision-making process for all of those companies. The Burket is still in its infancy. The Burket right now is where we were with the Marcellus in perhaps 2007.

Trib: Will companies need new technology?

Wrightstone: It appears that the companies will be applying the same techniques in the Burket as they do in the Marcellus because it really appears to be what I call a little brother to the Marcellus, in terms of reservoir characteristics and how one would complete the wells.

There are several upsides for the Burket. We see in all of the shale plays that the early wells in the play are either moderate or poor in potential and that the companies eventually crack the code or improve their completion techniques, which is certainly possible and likely to occur in the Burket.

In related news, Marcellus permit activity in Pennsylvania.

Trib: What do companies most ask from you?

Wrightstone: Most want to combine reservoir quality with the highest production performance rates to identify the most productive areas for each reservoir. In many cases, those decisions are also driven by pipeline considerations and the type of hydrocarbon produced, whether it’s wet gas or dry gas.

Trib: Is the Burket following same geographic pattern as Marcellus?

Wrightstone: The wet gas area of the Burket should closely mimic that of the Marcellus because it is … only a little bit above the Marcellus.

Trib: But it still might get overlooked?

Wrightstone: It’s because the Marcellus is just so big. I don’t think people realize just how big the Marcellus is. The Marcellus has completely revolutionized energy markets around the world and will continue to do so for a couple of decades.


This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. too bad the new governor drove the industry straight out of here with the new tax

  2. A combination of both. Ridge was good for the the companys plus they flooded the market and here we are

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