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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

Meet the Candidates: Governor Tom Corbett

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates on issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Meet the candidate in a brief video, and read a more detailed transcript of our interview below. Both the video and transcript have been edited, separately, for length and clarity. The primary is on May [...]

Meet the Candidates: Tom Wolf

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates on issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Meet the candidate in a brief video, and read a more detailed transcript of our interview below. Both the video and transcript have been edited, separately, for length and clarity. The primary is on May [...]

Meet the Candidates: Allyson Schwartz

This is the third in a series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates on issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Meet the candidate in a brief video, and read a more detailed transcript of our interview below. Both the video and transcript have been edited, separately, for length and clarity. The primary is on May [...]

Meet the Candidates: Katie McGinty

This is the second in a series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates on issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Meet the candidate in a brief video, and read a more detailed transcript of our interview below. Both the video and transcript have been edited, separately, for length and clarity. The primary is on May [...]

Meet the candidates: Rob McCord

This is the first in a series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates on issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Meet the candidate in a brief video, and read a more detailed transcript of our interview below. Both the video and transcript have been edited, separately, for length and clarity. The primary is on May [...]

Most drillers ignore law requiring inclusion of minorities and women

Pennsylvania’s natural gas producers have largely ignored a state law requiring efforts to include minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses in contracting opportunities. Last year, fewer than a third of the state’s gas operators replied to a legally-mandated survey asking them to document their use of small diverse businesses. Among the companies that did reply, about [...]

Pa. drill rig manufacturer taking the ‘rough’ out of roughnecking

As shale oil and gas production soars in states like Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota, the number of drill rigs towering over treetops is on the decline. Operators are becoming more efficient and advances in technology are driving other changes in oil and gas fields. Several hours away from where drillers are boring down into Pennsylvania’s [...]

DCNR releases first Marcellus monitoring report

How is Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling affecting Pennsylvania’s state forests? A new report released Wednesday by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offers mixed results. “First and foremost is that shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic,” Dan Devlin, acting deputy secretary for Parks and Forestry, wrote in the [...]

Study: small fraction of Pa. wells contribute large portion of methane emissions

In a new study on methane emissions from natural gas development, researchers found that a significant portion of the emissions they measured came from just a small fraction of Marcellus Shale wells. Those wells were in the drilling phase and had not yet been hydraulically fractured to release natural gas. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of [...]

Fracking forum will focus on the economic impact of drilling in Pennsylvania

There’s still time to register for a discussion forum –  ”A Frank Conversation about Fracking” - coming up this week on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery County. Co-hosted by StateImpact Pennsylvania partner station WHYY and the Bernard Wolfman Civil Discourse Project in Elkins Park, the conversation will focus on the economic impact of Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom. [...]

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