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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

Regulators to seek ways of boosting natural gas service in rural communities

A national investigation by utility regulators into ways of increasing natural gas supplies to under-served or un-served areas appears to be ignoring alternative energy sources and may be exposing those communities to high maintenance costs for new pipelines, critics said. Utility regulators are forming a task force to look at ways of supplying more gas [...]

Wolf says Act 13 language should be fixed to protect impact-fee revenue

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said late Wednesday that the wide-ranging Act 13 law should be changed to ensure that municipalities receive all the revenue they are entitled to from the state’s impact fee on gas drilling. Wolf’s office issued a statement in support of the Public Utility Commission which said Tuesday that the law’s language [...]

FERC says PennEast pipeline would have ‘less than significant’ environmental impact

The proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey would have “less than significant” environmental effects if it meets plans laid out by its builder and regulators, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Friday. In its final Environmental Impact Statement on the 120-mile project, FERC said its determination was based on information [...]

With governor’s signature, Maryland becomes third state to ban fracking

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday signed a bill banning fracking, making his state the third after New York and Vermont to prevent the controversial process of oil and gas extraction. Hogan, a Republican, said in March that he would back the bill that was passed at the end of that month by both houses [...]

Judge cancels jury award to Dimock families; orders new trial

A federal judge on Friday struck down a jury’s award of more than $4 million to two Pennsylvania families who claimed their well water was contaminated by gas drilling, saying the award bore little or no relationship to the evidence presented at the 2016 trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson of the Middle District of [...]

PJM says more natural gas power generation would not hurt reliability

The reliability of electric power supply in the U.S. northeast and mid-Atlantic states would not be hurt if generators burned more natural gas and renewables or if the recent decline in coal and nuclear generation continues, the operator of the nation’s biggest electric grid said on Thursday. PJM Interconnection, which operates the grid serving some [...]

Pennsylvania could support four more ethane crackers, report says

Pennsylvania has the capacity to attract up to four more ethane cracker plants because of its abundant reserves of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and its proximity to major markets for plastics feedstock, a report released by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said on Tuesday. The report from the consultant IHS Markit projects that more petrochemical companies [...]

Sunoco rejects township’s attempt to block valve for Mariner East 2

Sunoco Logistics rejected an attempt by a Chester County township to block construction of a valve for its Mariner East 2 pipeline, saying the project is a public utility that may not be regulated by municipalities. West Goshen Township in the western suburbs of Philadelphia wrote to the company last month denying it permission to [...]

Consultant’s report endorses safety of Mariner East 2; critics unmoved

Public debate over the safety of the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline was fueled with the publication of a consultant’s report endorsing Sunoco Logistics‘ plans on one section of the line in Chester County, while critics said the report failed to address what could happen if there was a leak. The report by [...]

Town declarations highlight public-safety worries over Mariner East 2

Some communities in Philadelphia’s western suburbs are reflecting public concerns over the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline by issuing official statements saying that the $2.5 billion line could endanger public safety. Eight townships or boroughs along or close to the route in Delaware and Chester Counties have published resolutions or proclamations as [...]

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