Industry analysts and government officials have confirmed that Marcellus Shale will become the most productive natural gas field in the United States.
In 2008 Marcellus Shale was a little-known energy source. Now its output boasts about 7.4 billion cubic feet per day—more than 25 percent of national shale gas production.
Marcellus is nearly surpassing production from the Haynesville region in Arkansas and Texas. And it soon might since new drilling permits there have declined sharply.
There are many hopeful signs for the future of Marcellus Shale including the proposed Shell Oil Co.’s petrochemical plant. The plant is expected to turn Marcellus gas into other consumer and industrial products, including plastics. If Shell builds its plant, other businesses could follow.
In the Marcellus region there were 288 new well permits issued in May, and more than 1,200 for the first five months of the year. There are also several major Marcellus region pipeline expansions expected to be completed in the fall—production should increase even more with infrastructure development.
These positive moves will keep energy companies focused on Marcellus Shale.
Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped. The first was the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.