Nothing lasts forever, as the old cliché goes, and neither will drilling. While we are at the very beginning of what will be a life-changing event for many landowners, a natural question is, How long will it last? How long before the natural gas locked away in the Marcellus is largely mined from the ground?
One person to address that question is Marty Muggleton, spokesman for The Larson Design Group and TerrAqua Resource Management, a wastewater processor newly permitted to handle flowback from Marcellus drilling operators. At a recent meeting of the Tioga County (PA) Development Corporation Board of Directors, he said:
Drilling will last about 20 years…and locals should try to use the resulting income wisely. There will be new opportunities for jobs, culture, education, health care and more. Communities just need to plan so those benefits remain when the drillers leave.*
So there you have it. Once drilling begins, plan to see drilling operators for about 20 years.
*The Wellsboro Gazette (Mar 17) – Natural gas dominates TCDC agenda
UPDATE: At the Natural Gas Development Summit held in Binghamton, NY on March 18, one of the speakers also addressed this issue. Larry Michael, Executive Director for Workforce Economic Development at the PA College of Technology, has studied jobs and drilling in the Marcellus extensively. He said while a single well may produce for 15-20 years, the activity of drilling in the various shales in our region will go on for 80-100 years total. It will span several generations, before all shale gas is mined.