Appalachian Marcellus, deeper zones eyed

Zone Oil & Gas signed an exploration and geophysical JV deal with Penn Virginia to explore the Devonian Marcellus shale and Oriskany sandstone and Silurian Tuscarora sand in Pennsylvania.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 20 -- Zone Oil & Gas LLC, Buffalo, NY, signed an exploration and geophysical joint venture deal with Penn Virginia Corp., Radnor, Pa., to explore the Devonian Marcellus shale and Oriskany sandstone and Silurian Tuscarora sand in Pennsylvania.

The joint venture covers 40,000 acres in Tioga, Potter, Somerset, Westmoreland, and Fayette counties, Pa. The program is to shoot at least one 3D seismic survey and drill as many as six wells in 2009, said Thomas H. O'Neill Jr., Zone chairman.

Predecessor entities chaired by O'Neill "recorded solid success in the Oriskany in Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the past 25 years," O'Neill said. "We strongly believe that the Marcellus, Oriskany, Tuscarora, and Trenton Black River formations in the Appalachian basin have tremendous potential for future development."

Zone noted that the Oriskany has been one of the top 10 major producing formations in the Appalachian basin, having yielded 1-2 tcf since 1930. It noted that relatively few wells have penetrated Tuscarora, which occurs at 10,000 ft on the acreage (OGJ, Aug. 7, 2006, Newsletter). Tuscarora typically has produced low-btu gas high in nitrogen.

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