The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Laboratory (MSEEL) consists of two project areas within the dry gas producing region of the Marcellus shale play in Monongalia County, West Virginia. MSEEL is a collaborative field project led by West Virginia University, with Northeast Natural Energy LLC, several industrial partners, and sponsored by the US Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory. The study areas are drilled approximately 8.5 miles apart to better understand the vertical and lateral changes in stratigraphy over a short distance. Two vertical pilot wells, MIP-3H and Boggess 17H were drilled in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2019, respectively. Core was recovered from the MIP-3H (API: 47-061-01707-00-00) 112 feet (34m) between depths of 7445 to 7557 feet, and from the Boggess 17H (API: 47-061-01812-00-00) 139 feet (42m) between depths of 7908 and 8012 ft. A full suite of triple combo (gamma ray, neutron, density logs), image logs, and advanced logging tools were run in both wells and calibrated to core analysis. Core analysis includes medical computed tomography (CT) scans, mineralogy and chemostratigraphy determined from handheld X-Ray fluorescence (hhXRF) and X-Ray powder diffraction (XRD) measurements, and determination of total organic content (TOC).
Lithofacies were determined at core-scale using traditional core description techniques and medical CT-scan images. Log-scale facies are based on mineralogy and TOC data and developed using petrophysical logging data calibrated to core data (XRD and pyrolysis data). Chemostratigraphic analysis utilized hhXRF data to determine the major and trace element trends in the cores.
In the two wells six shale lithofacies were recognized at the core and log scale. Both wells show organic-rich facies (TOC > 6.5%) primarily in the middle and lower Marcellus, with a slight decrease in thickness of this interval in the Boggess 17H. This interval is interpreted as an increase in paleo-productivity (increased Ni, Zn, and V), decreased sedimentation (decreased detrital proxies), and anoxic to euxinic conditions (increased Mo and chalcophile elements). Paleo-redox conditions in both wells are dynamic throughout deposition transitioning between euxinic/anoxic to dysoxic/oxic. This trend is seen through elemental proxies and calcite/pyrite concretion distributions.