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Pennsylvania Gears Up for More Shale Gas

Varying Depths of Marcellus Shale
Marcellus Outreach Center of Penn State
With the advent of a political landscape more friendly to shale natural gas, Pennsylvania is hoping to extend an economic boom in drilling.

At a conference in Washington, DC, academics from Penn State University discussed the geology and economics of the natural gas that lies beneath the western part of the state. Presentations at the US Energy Association-sponsored event may be viewed here.

Shale gas resides in small pockets scattered throughout rock formations 2,000 feet or more below the ground. Hydraulic fracturing techniques and gas prices well above $3 per million BTUs have made extraction of shale gas economically viable in the past decade. Pennsylvania has permitted more than 2,500 wells in recent years.

Professors with the Penn State Marcellus Outreach Center responded to criticism that shale gas production threatens water supplies. They said that the depth of Marcellus shale is too far below water tables for the fracturing process to harm them and that proper casing of pipes going through water tables are designed to protect them.


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