New Castle News

Marcellus Shale

October 23, 2012

Your Energy Future: Latest analysis suggests shale gas layer is richer than previously believed

NEW CASTLE — So how much natural gas is in the Marcellus Shale?

And, specifically, how much is under Lawrence County?

But beyond that, how much is in the Utica Shale layer that lies below the Marcellus?

The answer to these questions is: We’re not sure. However, a recent report by some private analysts suggests the amount of gas is considerably greater than previously believed.

Reserves of natural gas in the shale layer are speculative. One reason is that it’s not evenly distributed throughout the shale.

When push comes to shove, the only way to determine with accuracy how much gas is present in a given area is by drilling for it.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides estimates about how much gas is in the Marcellus shale. And recently, it has been scaling back its numbers dramatically.

Earlier this year, it cut the estimates of Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves from 410 trillion to 141 trillion cubic feet — a huge drop.

But researchers for Standard and Poor’s say the Marcellus Shale may contain as much as half the known reserves of natural gas in the United States. And ITG Investment Research findings say the government’s estimates are “grossly understated.”

What’s more, the researchers say that the gas in the Marcellus Shale is more accessible and easier to recover than other deep gas resources in the United States.

If true, all of these findings suggest the Marcellus Shale — primarily under Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia — will become an even more desirable area for drilling and gas extraction.

What does this mean for Lawrence County? Again, the answer is unclear.

Right now, there are 45 shale gas wells that have been drilled in Lawrence County on 10 different properties. But we don’t know what has been found, because the drillers aren’t talking.

They don’t want to tip off the competition.

Yet we must presume they are finding enough gas to make it worth their while to continue drilling. Plus, the process of laying lines that’s now in progress in the county tells us there’s something worth piping.

We recognize the processes involving shale gas drilling are controversial. Drilling, fracking and pipelines cause friction between businesses and property owners. If the latest reports mean drilling operations will continue to expand in the county, conflicts and disputes likely will become more common.

These will have to be dealt with. But at the same time, the economic potential for Lawrence County and much of the rest of the region as a result of shale gas may be far more dramatic than previously envisioned. We await more specific data.

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Marcellus Shale
  • gavel.jpg Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

    More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed. They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg DEP seeks extra hearing, more room

    State officials are seeking greater public participation for a hearing on a request that could lead to “forced pooling.” The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is asking that the hearings be moved to a facility that  can accommodate 500 people, and that an additional day of hearings be added.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg Hilcorp seeks to force drilling on reluctant landowners

    A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling. Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • shale.tiff Commission reviews 11 well pad plans

    As Marcellus and Utica shale drilling continues and pipelines are laid, plans are in place for more well pads locally. The Lawrence County Planning Commission reviewed land development plans Tuesday for 11 sites for well pads, which are where the drilling rigs are set up.

    December 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • pipe.tiff Natural gas pipeline webs being spun through area

    First of three parts: A few years ago, talk about Marcellus and Utica shales was about drilling and fracking. While drilling for natural gas is now prevalent locally and well pads are dotting the county’s horizon, focus is shifting to the digging for construction of pipelines to transport the gas from the drilling sites to areas throughout the middle and eastern United States.

    October 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • Natural gas program set at Westminster

    Pipelines and natural gas issues will be the subject of a program scheduled for Nov. 2 at Westminster College. The League of Women Voters of Mercer County and the Westminster College Environmental Programs are co-sponsoring the event featuring Dr. Roberta Winters of the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters.

    October 25, 2013

  • Meeting set on Marcellus drilling

    The League of Women Voters of Lawrence County will sponsor a panel discussion on Marcellus drilling on Tuesday. The discussion on drilling and property values will begin at 6:30 p.m. at New Wilmington Methodist Church, 125 S. Mercer St.

    March 23, 2013

  • SRU to host shale summit

    Slippery Rock University will host a summit Tuesday to educate local businesses about the Marcellus and Utica shale industry. The session, called Shale Summit II, will be a joint venture of the university, the Grove City Area and Butler County chambers of commerce and WISR/WBUT radio.

    March 14, 2013

  • school.jpg Education Options, Part 2: Current shale boom casts new light on county’s economic future

    Second of two parts: Welcome to the Industrial Revolution of 2013. The Marcellus Shale phenomenon has arrived with the promise of jobs and prosperity for an area in dire need of just such a miracle.

    February 25, 2013 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Seismic testing to be discussed

    Seismic testing for Marcellus Shale will be discussed Tuesday in New Wilmington. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at United Methodist Church, located at the corner of South Mercer Street and Neshannock Avenue.

    February 21, 2013

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