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Conasauga Shale Research Consortium (CSRC)
Project Number
DE-FE0031783
Last Reviewed Dated
Goal

The overall objective of the project is to establish a field laboratory and utilize a horizontal well of opportunity to conduct a scientific study designed to advance the understanding of the petrophysical and geomechanical properties of the Rogersville Shale. These properties will improve well completion design, ultimately leading to commercial production and the acceleration of play development.

Performer

University of Kentucky (UK), Lexington, KY 40506
West Virginia University (WVU), Morgantown, WV 26506
West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV 26508
Hay Exploration, Ashland, KY 41101
Schlumberger, Houston, TX 77042

Background
Locations of Rogersville Shale unconventional oil and gas (wells in eastern KY and southern WV). The CSRC horizontal research well will be drilled from the pilot hole of the Bruin Exploration 1 Young well, highlighted in red.
Locations of Rogersville Shale unconventional oil and gas (wells in eastern KY and southern WV). The CSRC horizontal research well will be drilled from the pilot hole of the Bruin Exploration 1 Young well, highlighted in red.

In 2013, the Bruin Exploration #1 Young well in Lawrence County, Kentucky, was the first well to target the Cambrian Conasauga Group shales as an unconventional oil and gas reservoir. Speculation on the success of this well quickly spread through the industry, resulting in a 2014 and 2015 regional oil and gas leasing boom across eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia. Since 2013, five additional Conasauga shale wells have been drilled. Although most of these wells encountered oil and/or gas, the volumes produced during testing were lower than expected. Although the play appears to be a technical success, the economics of the play remain to be proven.

Impact

The CSRC intends to accelerate the development of the Rogersville Shale and other Conasauga shales as unconventional oil and gas (UOG) plays by gathering the additional data necessary and testing different well completion designs in both theoretical models and in a real-world application at an extended horizontal well drilled in Lawrence County, KY. Analyses will include evaluating the source rock’s (Rogersville Shale) thermal maturity, organic content, and lithologic content; evaluating provenance of clays within the unit; major- and trace-elemental analysis; scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis of pore types; traditional and noble gas geochemistry of oil and/or gas that is produced; molecular and isotopic chemistry analyses of natural gases; programed pyrolysis to determine further petroleum potential of the source rock; lithologic and geomechanical analyses for developing effective completion strategies; long-term subsurface production rate monitoring (temperature and acoustic) through fiber-optic sensors; and detailed subsurface mapping of the Conasauga Group utilizing well data, reflection seismic profiles, and remote sensing (potential fields) data. The data generated and compiled in this project will then be integrated into a Rogersville Shale Development Strategy Plan that will enable the oil and gas industry to accelerate the development of this emerging resource.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • The project was conditionally awarded October 1, 2019, and the award definitized November 13, 2019.
Current Status

The CSRC has obtained data sharing agreements with the original operators of all six existing Rogersville wells. Using both public and proprietary data, a detailed post-mortem analysis of the drilling and testing results will be conducted to assess the UOG potential of the Rogersville Shale. Additionally, the project team has initiated regional stratigraphic mapping of the Conasauga Group Units.  

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

$5,876,897

Performer Contribution

$1,524,073

Contact Information

NETL – Robert Vagnetti (robert.vagnetti@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-1334)
UK – John B. Hickman (john.hickman@uky.edu or 859-323-0541)