energyNOW! is a weekly half-hour television program on Bloomberg TV and ABC-7 in Washington DC covering energy and environmental stories. MDN recently received a request from energyNOW! producer Shawn Shepard to see if we can help locate landowners in Maryland willing to talk on-camera for an upcoming energyNOW! segment. Here is Shawn’s request:
A number of landowners in New York’s Southern Tier region (Broome and Tioga Counties) signed leases with gas companies in 2000 for peanuts, $3 per acre, long before shale gas drilling was discovered and used. The technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have been around for decades, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the two were combined to tap shale gas.
Will drilling in the Marcellus Shale, or other shale plays for that matter, continue its red-hot growth? The honest answer is, who knows? It depends on whether or not it’s profitable for energy companies to continue their shale gas drilling expansion. Right now, it appears that at least some companies are leaning away from further expansion in shale gas drilling because the commodity price of natural gas is low compared with oil. Many (most?) of the companies who drill for natural gas also drill for oil. If the price you get for gas is only barely covering your costs to drill, as it is right now for natural gas, you take a close look at the alternatives, like oil.
Some of the factors that will continue to affect the price of natural gas in the coming few years, and hence drillers’ willingness to drill: