By ERICA PETERSON
Speculation has begun in Eastern Kentucky about a potentially large reserve of oil and natural gas trapped about two miles underground. If the Rogersville Shale is proven productive, it would be the region’s first major oil and gas play. This has excited the industry, but some residents are worried about the toll large-scale oil and gas production would take on human health and the environment.
The Rogersville Shale is a Cambrian-age formation that lies under much of Eastern Kentucky and extends into West Virginia. Two test wells have already been drilled: one in Lawrence County, and another in Putnam County, West Virginia. But Dave Harris of theKentucky Geological Survey said because the operators have drilled the wells under a special provision called a ‘stratographic test permit,’ the results are confidential.
“It is a potentially productive formation, we just don’t know how much oil and gas,” he said. “No results have been announced, we don’t have any flow rates or production data yet to indicate exactly how prolific this formation might be.”
Kentucky Geological Survey
But increased activity by land agents in several Eastern Kentucky counties suggests that the oil and gas industry thinks Rogersville could be very profitable. More than a year ago, a company called ABARTA Energy posted an exclamation point-laden blog post talking about the Rogersville Shale.
“ABARTA is currently working on a potential new shale play in Kentucky called the Rogersville shale. This is a brand new shale that has never produced commercial gas, but information from some old deep test wells indicate potential for vast reserves at great depths. The Rogersville shale is even older and deeper than the Marcellus or Utica shales and is Cambrian age (+500 million years). This makes the potential shale play extremely risky and expensive, but the rewards could also be extreme! The Rogersville shale play is located in a deep, narrow sub basin in eastern Kentucky called the Rome Trough. Drilling depths will likely be about 2 miles deep!”
Landowners in several Eastern Kentucky counties have reported being approached by companies wanting to buy their mineral rights. On an online message board last month, a Lawrence County landowner reported interactions with Chesapeake Energy, who he said offered him $200 per acre for his mineral rights, along with a 12.5 percent royalty on the oil and gas produced from beneath his land.
“It’s going to change the landscape and the way of life for a large number of people in this state,” Jim Scheff said. “And nobody knows about it. The industry is doing it under the radar.”
Full the full story here: http://wfpl.org/fracking-coming-cumberlands/