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Marcellus Shale Article (I got published!)

rrr

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Hey ya'll, I've mentioned this a few times and I figured I'd share. In addition to everything else that I'm doing, I've also become involved with a free-market economics student led think-tank at UPitt. I'm a contributing writer for them.

(Thanks to the mudloggers and our registered petroleum landman for helping me out on this one, and in future ones)

Here's the article: http://www.publiusfoundation.com/2010/11/marcellus-shale-101/


Marcellus Shale is a prominent issue in Pennsylvania. Known as the “Marcellus Shale play,” this natural resource, like any other energy source, spurs concern and debate in the arenas of economics, environmentalism, and politics. Before these issues are addressed, we must first look at the basics of the situation.

Marcellus Shale formations lay five to nine thousand feet under ground and contain large reserves of uncapped natural gas. Officials estimate that around ten years of the United State’s natural gas consumption, or a value of one trillion dollars, may be extracted from Marcellus Shale. Stretching across New York State’s Fingerlake region, through the coal-rich fields of Pennsylvania to Ohio’s Appalachia region and West Virginia, the Marcellus Shale play is an abundant domestic energy source. A mere three hour drive south from Titusville, Pennsylvania — where oil was first drilled for — is the site of the first Marcellus Shale extraction, where production began in 2005.[1]

The process of harvesting Marcellus Shale is similar to the conventional methods of extracting oil. The Marcellus Shale Coalition of Pennsylvania, an organization mainly comprised of gas companies, describes the following process:[2] Once a company leases land (or in some states, such as Ohio, just the mineral rights below the surface), seismic blasting exploration surveys for natural gas reserves. Once a hot bed is located, horizontal drilling takes place. Though from the surface horizontal drills resemble a traditional oil well, these machines drill vertically to a depth of approximately four thousand feet and then angle off parallel to the ground surface for an additional five to eight thousand feet. Once drilled, well casing is piped down the hole to provide stability. Marcellus Shale fractures are vertical, and as a result, horizontal drilling cracks the shale perpendicular to the nature factures, opening up a flow of released natural gas. Another method, hydraulic fracturing, injects millions of gallons water into the shale, building pressure resulting in factures.[3] A successful well is then flared, capped, and hooked to a pipeline. A typical drill site covers around five acres; though once drilled, the site disappears into a well access road, water tanks, meters, and the wellhead.

Drilling for Marcellus Shale is not a new idea. However, the current interest in harvesting the shale is due to the fact that it is becoming a more attractive energy source because of the high costs of petroleum and the recent technology advancements in procuring the natural gas. Not only is the Marcellus Shale play a domestic energy source, it is also cost-effective because of its location in relation to existing pipelines and demands for natural gas.[4] Technological advancements in drilling allow efficient and environmentally conscious production. A single horizontal well can extract natural gas from a large surrounding area, rather than having a landscape littered with multiple wellheads. Furthermore, though the hydraulic fracturing process requires a great deal of water, much of it can be recycled efficiently throughout the process.[5] Naturally, those that seek to tap into this natural resource have argued that their methods are environmentally friendly.

Currently, there are around 450 Marcellus Shale wells in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a growing number in neighboring Ohio.[6] In the state of New York, Marcellus Shale drilling and exploration has been put on hold until environmental officials, gas companies, and legislators reach an agreement concerning the drilling. This drilling moratorium has caused companies to pursue leases in other states without moratoriums, flooding Ohio and Pennsylvania in a ‘gold-rush mentality.’[7] Rather than dog sleds, landmen (representatives of the energy companies) are arriving by pickup truck, offering lease contracts and even signing bonuses for prime extraction points. Many state legislatures are concerned that contracts may not be solidified in the best interests of their constituents and are pursuing regulations to ensure that they are, adding to the political aspect of the Shale play.

The Marcellus Shale play has opened a Pandora’s box of discussion and debate. Gas and oil companies are eager to unleash landmen to bring on new contracts, but even those that work in the oil production industry are concerned about how Marcellus Shale will disrupt the supply and demand of the current market. While landowners might find an excess of natural gas favorable to their heating bills, they are also faced with the proposition of intrusive drilling operations and apprehensions of environmental disturbance. Energy has always been a ‘hot button issue’ in contemporary politics and candidates from Marcellus Shale-rich regions are certainly playing into the controversy of the issue, proposing new jobs and a decrease in foreign dependency as a result of harvesting from this domestic source. As the Marcellus Shale play develops, we must look carefully at these economic, environmental, and political issues.[8]

[1] Institute for Energy Research
http://www.instituteforenergyresear...s—as-long-as-hydraulic-fracturing-is-allowed/
[2] Marcellus Shale Coalition. http://marcelluscoalition.org/marcellus-shale/production-processes/
[3] IER
[4] David T. Messersmith, Penn State.
http://www.pasbdc.org/index/resources/marcellusabout.asp
[5] Marcellus Shale Coalition.
[6] Penn Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources; Ohio Dept of Natural Resources
[7] “‘Gold-rush mentality’ Targeting County Land Over Marcellus Shale”, Tom Giambroni, Morning Journal, Aug 9, 2010. http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/521099.html
[8] Note: As of October 14th, PA Legislators were still considering passing a bill concerning Marcellus Shale before the end of their legislative session.


Of course, I enjoy writing on here and blogging on here just as much, but this is a pretty big thing for me academically. I know its not the Wall Street Journal, but this is the first time I've been published. The article will also run this week in Grove City's newspaper.
 

Riverdude

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#5
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa wheres the section on how the mud loggers are so cool and great, get all the chicks?? Just kidding Ernie.

Great read and write.

I helped a rough neck who has a neice doing a project on the same thing. She is a Senior in High School and all I asked in return was for some damn home baked Cookies which I never got. I got her soooooo much information and actual samples of the formations from the tops to the marcellus and even the Onondaga. She was the only one to get 100%, they put her report / study and samples in some case in the school for everyone to see and I will be damn if I have still gotten my cookies. I am such a push over. , lol.

Again great job.
 

rrr

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Thanks fellas.

RD- When I get to the other articles I might have to give you a call and get some more information. Your bro was helpful on this one as well. I won't offer cookies but anytime you take the long ways home lunch is on me!
 

Riverdude

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#7
Thanks fellas.

RD- When I get to the other articles I might have to give you a call and get some more information. Your bro was helpful on this one as well. I won't offer cookies but anytime you take the long ways home lunch is on me!
Yea we need to do that Ernie. I would enjoy it. You know the funny thing being a Mud Logger is everyone looks at you like your nothing and bottom dwellers until they can't figure things out and they call you or come over, "What Are We In, Why Are We Drilling So Slow, What TVD will We Hit The Next Formation" then we are Gods, as soon as they get out of trouble we are low lifes again. They forget we are the ones that also watch the gas levels and warn them of spikes. No Love for a mud logger.
I have been challenged by a Geologist on formations kicking off and shot them out of the saddle.
I have had the rough necks bitch about bring samples every 30 ft to me and say why can't I go get them. I am very nice, show them everything I have to do and then politey tell them yor work 12 hours a day, 2 weeks a month and I work 24 hours a day, can't leave the rig and sleep when I can. Dem boys all say NO SHIT, I say Yup, they are much nice to me once they see what we do and how little we get paid compared to them.

Keep up the good work Ernie,

Your Friend,

Da Mud Logger.
 

Dannmann801

Senior Member
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#11
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa wheres the section on how the mud loggers are so cool and great, get all the chicks?? Just kidding Ernie.

Great read and write.

I helped a rough neck who has a neice doing a project on the same thing. She is a Senior in High School and all I asked in return was for some damn home baked Cookies which I never got. I got her soooooo much information and actual samples of the formations from the tops to the marcellus and even the Onondaga. She was the only one to get 100%, they put her report / study and samples in some case in the school for everyone to see and I will be damn if I have still gotten my cookies. I am such a push over. , lol.Again great job.
Poor Jeffie....just one more woman who's used him up then didn't deliver the sweet goods as promised...dangit boy, git it in advance next time....:smiley_arrogant:

Hey Ernie, that was a good read, ya learnt me sumpin der....congrats on now being a published author.
 

Riverdude

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#12
Poor Jeffie....just one more woman who's used him up then didn't deliver the sweet goods as promised...dangit boy, git it in advance next time....:smiley_arrogant:

Hey Ernie, that was a good read, ya learnt me sumpin der....congrats on now being a published author.
Story of my sorry ass life Dan. :smiley_badmood: