Historically, exploration in the Quebec Lowlands Basin has been primarily devoted to deeper targets in the Trenton Black River carbonates with little thought being given to the gas coming from the shales as they were drilled through on the way to deeper targets. Wells, such as the Shell Sainte-Francoise-Romaine No 1 (testing at 4.5 MMCFD) showed promise, but it has really been the development of new drilling and completion techniques used in the development shale plays such as the Barnett in Texas, have the “shales become the darling” on the industry as low risk commercial projects.
Encana, in a 2007 report, competed an evaluation of the Utica Shale and showed concerns about the ability of the shales to be “fraced”, a necessary procedure to make the shales produce for an extended period. This concern appears to be laid to rest with the March 2008 announcement from Forest Oil that they had not only successfully fraced the shales, but that the two wells tested at commercial rates (“up to one million cubic feet per day”) following the stimulation clean up.
Talisman, with partners Questerre and Canadian Quantum, followed up with a Utica test of their own in the Gentilly #1. The vertical well tested 800 MCFD during a conclusive 18 day test period. Several other wells have been drilling in the area with results ranging from 300 – 800 mcfd (verticals) with three prototype horizontal wells drilled by Forest Oil are testing.
The heart of the Utica Shale trend in Quebec is massive, bounded by the Yamaska Fault to the north-east, which roughly follows the St Lawrence river through this area, and the Logans Line fault system to the south-west. The Fairway extends along the St. Lawrence from roughly Montreal to Quebec City covering an area of over 1.1 million acres or roughly 2400 square miles.
Direct comparisons can be made between established commercial shales producing in North America, and interested parties can read several analyst reports linked to this website. It is the Company's position (and others) that the Utica best compares to the highly successful Barnett Shale of Texas. Initial estimates show the total recoverable potential of the Utica Shale in Quebec could be high as 25 TCF with an estimated 93 BCF of original gas in place (OGIP) per square mile. A recovery factor of 15% would yield 14 BCF recoverable gas per square mile.