2. December 2009 02:22
If you live in the state of Pennsylvania, Southern NY state, North West- West Virginia you have probably heard of the Marcellus Shale. So what is it and why all of the “buzz”.
Natural gas has been extracted from the ground in Pennsylvania since the 1800’s. But, now due to new and advanced technologies, the industry is giving estimates of $500 billion in recoverable gas in PA alone to $1 trillion throughout the shale formation in total.
This Marcellus “play” could offer up as much as 516 trillion cubic feet of gas. The US demand is approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas per year. However, these numbers are again based on current technologies which conservatively extract only about 10% of the estimated gas at play here. As technologies increase it is expected that this play will offer up 20 – 30 years of producing activities (drilling & exploration) and 100 years of supply (gas transmission and line maintenance etc).
The bottom line, there is a lot of gas down there. This dense, black rock formation is about 5,000 – 9,000 feet below the surface. Water wells are not typically any deeper than 500 – 900 feet deep). There are some water concerns as it regards the water that comes out of the wells after “frac’ing” (hydraulic fracturing). These are somewhat overblown as the chemicals are used at a very low level and are found in most processed foods. Some of this water is treated and recycled back in to the process. The DEP has guidelines on how spent frac’cing water can be handled from transport to treatment to dumping into creeks or rivers. The same goes for water these gas production companies use from local water tributaries.
The additional good news is that this play will create about 29,000 new jobs and $2.4 billion in taxes for PA!
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