The Chenango County (NY) Natural Gas Advisory Committee views drilling in the Marcellus Shale as a reality, not a “far off fantasy” that a recent string of articles in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (from neighboring Broome County, NY) seem to indicate. Good for Chenango County. They’re researching and planning, and they will be ready when drilling begins.
But it seems only the southern parts of Chenango County would be suitable for drilling. Some interesting details (if you’re a landowner in Chenango County) from a recent article:
As far as Chenango County is concerned, when it comes to exploring the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale, energy companies won’t be as interested in the northern half of Chenango County because the formation there is much too shallow. Geologists say the Marcellus lies only 2,000 to 3,000 feet deep north of the town lines of Smithville, Oxford and Guilford versus more than 4,000 feet deep below the demarcation.
Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique used to extract natural gas from fissures in organic rich black shale, simply won’t work in formations less than 4,000 feet, and is more likely in depths almost twice that amount.*
MDN points out that hydraulic fracturing is only controversial because anti-drillers make it so. The practice has been around for years (since the late 1940s). So has horizontal drilling. The “new” thing is combining the two together—but even that has been around for years.
Landowners in Chenango County will need to figure out if their land is suitable for drilling. Consult with local landowner groups, and with the County Natural Gas Advisory Committee.
*Norwich Evening Sun (Mar 30) – Planning for Marcellus Shale activity is ‘a reality’