Landowners learn basics of Marcellus Shale

As interest in the development of the Marcellus Shale continues to grow, many people want to find out more of the basic facts about the massive natural gas formation. Recently Scott Weikert, a Forest Resource Educator from the Forest County Penn State Cooperative Extension, presented a basic overview on the Marcellus Shale for landowners.As of Sept. 30, the state Department of Environmental Protection reported that in Elk County there have been five Marcellus wells drilled and 49 non-Marcellus wells. Jefferson County has four Marcellus wells and 48 non-Marcellus wells, while Clarion County has one Marcellus well and 43 non-Marcellus wells. “Areas of high interest are now moving west,” Weikert said.In Armstrong County, there have been 22 Marcellus wells drilled and 100 non-Marcellus wells, while Forest County has 208 non-Marcellus wells and two Marcellus wells. This lower number of Marcellus-related wells is in direct contrast to areas in the northeastern part of the state, where there are currently 286 Marcellus wells drilled in Bradford County, 213 Marcellus wells in Tioga County and 118 Marcellus wells in Washington County. Weikert noted the majority of the natural gas market lies within the northeastern part of the country, and those who have a hand in the development of the Marcellus Shale will benefit.“Marcellus is strategically located in the heart of the market,” Weikert said. “In Pennsylvania, transportation costs are much less than having gas piped in from the Gulf of Mexico through the Tennessee Gas Pipeline System.”Weikert noted that experts have known about the Marcellus Shale for the past 80 years, but the technology to extract the gas was either not available or too expensive before now. He went on to explain how wells are sited and drilled. For more on this story, see the Oct. 26 edition of The Daily Press.