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How To Learn About The Marcellus Shale Formation.


Map of The Marcellus Shale


What Is The Marcellus Shale Formation?


The Marcellus shale formation is located in the northeast part of the United States. It is one of the most significant discoveries of natural found so far. Clean burning natural gas will undoubtedly be a big part of our energy future as we seek to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

To learn more about the Marcellus Shale you can visit your local library and check out some good books on petroleum geology and sedimentary rocks. If you live in the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia you may have already heard of the Marcellus Shale. It is a layer of sedimentary, gas bearing rock known as shale that is buried as much as a mile below the surface. It may contain, according to some geologists, up to five hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

What Is Shale and Shale Gas?

 Shale is a hard sedimentary rock that is rich in organic material. It was formed millions of years ago in the middle Devonian age as fine muck deposited on the floor of an ancient sea. As the shale was covered up with other sediments and buried, eventually heat and biological action caused natural gas to be formed from the organic material in the Marcellus shale. Shale gas refers to the natural gas trapped in reservoirs such as the Marcellus Shale and Barnett Shale.

Learn more about horizontal or directional drilling by visiting sites such as those below. Because the Marcellus shale formation is full of fractures or cracks, it is able to hold a large quantity of natural gas. Until recently oil and gas companies could only drill vertical wells and extract a small amount of gas since shale is a hard rock with low porosity and only a few fractures might be penetrated by the well.

Now oil and gas companies are seeing the Marcellus shale in a new light since horizontal drilling was perfected. This technology allows them to drill sideways across many fractures in the Marcellus shale and therefore extract much more natural gas from a single well.
Since its discovery, the Marcellus shale has continued to have a large economic impact on the area where it is locatated and the United States in general. The development of the Marcellus Shale has not been without controversy. Cities and towns stuggle to balance environmental concerns with the economic benefits of shale drilling. As development of the Marcellus has progressed, gains have been made in cooperation between oil and gas companies, landowners and municipalities to address issues such as water use - water disposal, land reclamation and watershed protection. While not everyone in the Marcellus shale play region will ever see eye to eye on these issue it appears that drilling is here to stay.

Similar shale gas formations, such as the Barnett shale in Texas, have brought thousands of jobs and income for local governments from taxes on gas royalties. Shale drilling has helped the US become energy independent and reduce our foreign trade deficit. (Update: Because of the surplus of natural gas in the U.S., exports of LNG or liquefied natural gas will begin from ports in Louisiana, Texas and other states. Some of this gas will go to Europe, helping to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas.)

The Marcellus Shale Formation, Map

The Barnett Shale of Texas




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