Paper No. 24-2
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM-9:40 AM
182 YEARS AFTER THE HART WELL, THE TRENTON / BLACK RIVER CARBONATES RE-IGNITE NEW YORK STATE’S NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY
MARTIN, John P., NYSERDA, 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203, jpm@nyserda.org and SMITH, Langhorne B. Jr, Reservoir Characterization Group, New York State Museum, Room 3140 CEC, Albany, NY 12193

The North American natural gas industry got its start in 1821 when the Hart Well began lighting the streets of Fredonia, New York. From that early shale well, New York has seen booms from the Oriskany, Onondaga, Akron-Bertie, Queenston and Medina formations. Recently, Ordovician Trenton/Black River carbonates have surpassed the Medina as New York’s primary producer.

Though New York had shallow Trenton production from the 1870s to the 1930s, the current play got its start with the 1982 Auburn Geothermal Well in Cayuga County and the 1986 Evangelos well in Steuben County. Significant exploration didn’t start until the mid-1990s. Since 1994, the natural gas industry has invested approximately $200 million in New York, primarily to develop the Trenton / Black River reservoirs in and around the Finger Lakes region. As a result, New York’s 2001 natural gas production increased by 56% from the previous year and reached its highest level in 15 years. There are now 14 named fields in New York, by far the most in any Appalachian state.

As with the similar reservoirs in eastern North America, these structurally-controlled Trenton / Black River reservoirs are formed in narrow zones of hydrothermal dolomitization requiring high resolution seismic and other technical methods of identification.

The current Trenton / Black River production area contains a mix of private, state, and federal lands. Though no central records exist, the authors estimate that anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million acres of private land are under lease. New York State land leases in the Finger Lakes region total 13,000 acres. Though there is little Federal land, lease requests have generated a fair amount of controversy.

Other Paleozoic targets that offer future production potential include the Beekmantown Group, Devonian and Ordovician shales, and the Onondaga reefs.

Northeastern Section - 38th Annual Meeting (March 27-29, 2003)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 24
Energy Resources of the Paleozoic I
Pier 21: Kenneth C. Rowe Heritage Hall
8:40 AM-12:00 PM, Friday, March 28, 2003
 

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