Don’t look now, but the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin has actually printed a fair and balanced look at the issue of drilling in the Marcellus Shale deposit! The ‘guest viewpoint’ is written by Robert W. Watson, Ph.D., emeritus associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering and environment systems engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Whew! A mouthful.
Dr. Watson’s article is an excellent and recommended read for landowners and for all sides of the drilling debate. Here are a few excerpts to encourage you to read the whole thing:
Drilling a Marcellus well is a significant undertaking, but it is not a new undertaking. Some of the drilling technologies used in developing these wells have their roots in Pithole City, Pa. (circa 1865) and Gulf Oil Company’s laboratory research during the 1950s.
Hydraulic fracturing, a technique to stimulate a well’s productivity, was first observed by South Penn Oil Company at its operations near Clarendon, Pa., during World War II, and was perfected and patented by Standard of Indiana during the late 1940s.
And on the matter of groundwater contamination by hydraulic fracturing:
[H]ydraulic fracturing has been misrepresented – even demonized – with many of the concerns having no basis in fact.
Hydraulic fracturing, in its simplest form, it is the use of a water and sand mixture to create a highly conductive zone where natural gas can more readily flow from the natural gas bearing formation to the wellbore. The additives used are in very small quantities and equally low concentrations. This mixture is introduced to the subject formation via steel pipe grouted in place with cement. The subject formation is nearly a mile below the surface and is separated from the surface by an equal distance of rock. The simple reality is that stimulation using this technique does not impact ground-water bearing zones.
Head on over to the Press & Sun-Bulletin site and read the article for free before it disappears into the paid archives section.
Read the full article: Going for the gas – Make room for science and technology in Marcellus debate