The Utica Shale is a layer of rock underlying much of the Northeastern United States and the subject of drilling for oil and gas. Today Shell announced a new discovery of gas under Pennsylvania, much further east than where gas was initially thought to be.

The layer of rock is known as the Utica Shale because it was first discovered here in 1842 in a rock outcorpping near Starch Factory Creek which runs through the eastern side of the city near the Herkimer County line before emptying into the Mohawk River. The Utica Shale is one of Utica's Gifts to the World.

The discovery by Shell, according to Bloomberg:

Two gas finds in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, announced today by Europe’s largest oil company are more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) away from the epicenter of Utica shale drilling in Monroe County, Ohio. Shell, which has been selling gas assets in other parts of the U.S. to focus on its highest-profit prospects, said it owns drilling rights across about 430,000 acres in the discovery zone, an area five times the size of Philadelphia.

Since the discovery of Utica four years ago, exploration has been dominated by a handful of domestic wildcatters such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and Gulfport Energy Corp. Oil majors including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) were late to the race after initially assuming the formations wouldn’t yield hefty returns.