UK onshore-focused IGas reported Monday that estimates of shale gas in place in its licenses in northwest England have been estimated at up to 170 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).
IGas said it constructed a geological model using some 200 miles of reprocessed seismic lines subsurface data from 20 offset wells and geological data from its well at Ince Marshes, and this model was used to estimate the volume of gas initially in place within the shales in the 300 square miles that its licenses cover. The low estimate was for 15.1 Tcf of gas, with the most likely estimate at 102 Tcf. The high estimate was for 172.3 Tcf.
IGas confirmed that its proposed drilling program, which is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013, is at an advanced stage. Long-lead items, such as wellheads and casings, have now been ordered and negotiations with drilling and related service companies are well advanced, the firm added.
In a company statement, IGas CEO Andrew Austin said:
"The announcement of the gas in place volumes of up to circa 170 Tcf in our North West acreage follows the completion of a very thorough study by the IGas technical team and supports our view that these licences have a very significant shale gas resource with the potential to transform the company and materially benefit the communities in which we operate.
"The planned drilling program, commencing later this year, will further refine these estimates and advance our understanding of this shale basin. We will in due course carry out further analysis and reinterpretation of existing seismic and subsurface data to evaluate the potentially prospective shale resources in the East Midlands and Weald Basin license areas."
Energy analysts at the London office of investment bank Jefferies International cautioned that the range of uncertainty about how much shale gas exists within IGas’s licenses was "large". They commented in a brief research note Monday:
"Today's announcement supports what we think could be the ultimate un-risked potential but like the gas in place estimates, the range of uncertainty of numerous technical and commercial variables is still very large, not least of which is whether any portion of this in-place potential can flow at commercial rates."