What is Marcellus Shale? –
Marcellus shale is a 400 year-old giant rock formation located 4,000 to 8,000 feet beneath the earth’s surface, and estimated to be one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. The formation stretches across New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. The United State’s Geological Survey (USGS) believes the formation’s total area is an estimated 95,000 square miles. The natural gas supply contained in the Marcellus shale could be enough to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers’ for hundreds of years.
In order to reach the Marcellus Shale, a unique drilling technique is used, fracking. Fracking is short for, Hydraulic fracturing, which is a method of extracting the natural gas from Marcellus shale. Hydraulic fracturing requires a large quantity of water, fracking fluid, and sand. The mix is pushed deep beneath the earth, which creates fractures. The fractures or held open by the sand, and the fracking fluid helps the natural gas flow into the wells quickly and efficiently. Studies estimate that up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing.
Technological advances have allowed companies to gather an abundance of natural gas while protecting drinking water and the environment. Oil and gas companies keep the fracking process under tight control to ensure best fracking practices. Over time, fracking methods will replace conventional extraction techniques.
Studies have indicated that an increased production of natural gas will lead to thousands of jobs and help stimulate the economy. In fact, a study by Timothy J. Considine shows increase access to Marcellus shale could mean 250,000 jobs and more than $6 billion in government revenue.
Marcellus shale provides an opportunity to reach an abundance of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing will help boost our economy by creating more jobs and offering more affordable fuel options.