Penn State Finds Chemical Clues to Marcellus Methane Migration

Dr. Terry Engelder

One of the ongoing issues used (misused) by those opposed to shale drilling is “methane migration”–the claim that drilling a shale well has led to, due to improper casing, widespread methane leaks getting into nearby water supplies. That was the claim made by Josh Fox in the fake documentary Gasland about Dimock, PA. The thing about methane migration is that most of the time it’s fixable. The other thing is that in a high number of cases, it’s not methane migrating from a shale well, but rather it’s naturally occurring leaks. Which makes sense. You drill shale wells where there’s a lot of methane! But how can you tell the difference between naturally occurring methane migration and methane migrating because of shale well activity? Some sharp researchers at Penn State University, including the “father of the Marcellus,” Dr. Terry Engelder, have just published a research study that can help.

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