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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Gas drilling draws citizen scientists to the field

Joanne Martin stands on the muddy bank of Brady Run, a stream in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania. To get there, she crawled down a steep gravel slope, ducking low tree branches and stepping over dead brush. Martin has been coming to Brady Run for three years to test the water for signs of pollution [...]

What New York’s fracking ban means for drilling along the Delaware river

The surprise decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking and prevent the development of Marcellus Shale gas in that state could have ripple effects in eastern Pennsylvania. New York issued a lengthy scientific report on potential health and environmental impacts Wednesday. And Cuomo’s subsequent decision could mean a permanent ban on drilling [...]

Plans for shale gas ‘energy hub’ draw investors and protestors to Philadelphia

Business leaders gathered in Philadelphia on Friday to pitch investors on plans to turn the region into an “energy hub” based on booming Marcellus Shale gas production. It’s hard to say exactly how it went, though, because most members of the news media were barred from the event. They hung around outside Drexel University’s Creese [...]

Industry documents show effort to hide health impacts of benzene

A new report out today by the Center for Public Integrity details how workers exposed to the cancer causing chemical benzene, get little support from their employers. CPI gained access to documents from court cases across the country, which show how companies try to debunk the science linking benzene to cancer. More from CPI: Taken [...]

Feds approve pipeline to bring Marcellus gas to New York, New England

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the green light to a proposed interstate pipeline that would bring Marcellus Shale natural gas to markets in New York and New England, provided it meets certain environmental conditions. The Constitution project involves building 124 miles of new 30-inch-diameter pipeline, connecting gas production in Susquehanna County to existing transmission [...]

Shale bubble burst on the horizon? New report questions government’s rosy forecast

Marcellus Shale production could peak in just five years, plateau, and then tail off quickly, according to new research by a team of petroleum engineers at the University of Texas. The UT forecast is significantly less optimistic than recent reports issued by the Energy Information Administration, a government agency. The research is reported today in [...]

Maryland Governor proposes stringent fracking regulations

Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits lie beneath just a tiny sliver of western Maryland. But with three years worth of review, the state issued a 104 page report Tuesday detailing the pros and cons of fracking, along with recommendations for some of the most stringent rules in the country. Maryland’s Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Study [...]

EPA boosts rules for methane reporting by oil and gas producers

The Environmental Protection Agency has moved to require oil and gas operators to improve how they measure methane leaks. Climate scientists and environmentalists increasingly worry about the warming aspects of methane. Although carbon dioxide has been the focus in the fight against global warming, methane is actually more potent in the short run. And as [...]

Pew survey finds declining support for fracking

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows public support for fracking has declined since last year. In a survey conducted last week, 41 percent of respondents said they favor the increased use of fracking, while 47 percent say they are opposed. Enthusiasm has dwindled since Pew surveyed people in March 2013. Back then, [...]

Governor Tom Corbett says the impact fee is still the best deal for Pennsylvanians

Governor Tom Corbett speaks about taxing the Marcellus Shale in an interview at WHYY in Philadelphia

StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Susan Phillips sat down with both candidates for governor and pressed them on energy issues. The candidates visited WHYY in Philadelphia, where several reporters interviewed them for about ten minutes each. Wolf has proposed taxing the Marcellus Shale gas differently than Governor Corbett. Wolf wants to charge a 5 percent tax on the [...]

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