Chesapeake Appalachia, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy, has received clearance from two townships in Washington County, Pennsylvania, to move forward with plans to drill five gas wells. Three of the wells will be drilled in Robinson Township, and two in North Fayette Township. Supervisors in both townships voted unanimously (3-0) to allow drilling to begin. The PA Department of Environmental Protection will still need to approve permits, but all systems appear to be “go” for drilling to begin.
Each well will take approximately three weeks to drill with drilling activity scheduled seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The approvals were granted contingent on certain guarantees and conditions about safety.
For full details, see: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Mar 4) – Officials OK plan to drill Marcellus shale for natural gas
Nolan Hart, an author who also works in the horizontal drilling industry, wrote an interesting viewpoint piece on whether, and when, we might see “peak natural gas.” He explains there are many in the drilling industry who believe we have already reached “peak oil,” meaning all of the easily gotten oil has already been extracted and every barrel we extract now is harder to get, involving more elaborate methods to get it.
But on the subject of peak natural gas, Mr. Hart says this:
The natural gas paradox is this: In the past decade a technology called horizontal drilling was perfected and now shale rock, which was never before seen as a reservoir of natural gas or oil, is being exploited all across the country. This revolution is going full swing in the United States with areas like the vast Marcellus shale in the Northeast and the Haynesville shale in Louisiana, proving to hold trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. Even the die hard prophets of peak oil doom are finally waking up to the fact that we have many more years worth of this resource left.
We suddenly have over a one hundred year supply of natural gas at current consumption rates and that number has been growing by about one decade more each year since 2005. New discoveries such as the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas are adding trillions more cubic feet to the natural gas inventory. So, peak oil, yes. Peak natural gas, no way.*
Mr. Hart also details how natural gas is a low carbon fossil fuel, producing 1/3 to 2/3 less carbon dioxide than oil or coal when burned. He makes a strong case for switching to natural gas—now.
We encourage you to read his well written article:
*Xomba (Mar 3) – How Long Until Peak Natural Gas?