Utica Shale Drilling Will Provide More Natural Gas

Just like the Marcellus Shale gas supply, a deeper shale layer promises to provide gas, too. Pennsylvania drillers are cashing in on this new layer, the Utica shale. Marcellus shale is about 7,000 feet below the surface of Pennsylvania. Utica shale is another 2,000 feet below that. The Texas company, Range Resources Corp. has drilled into the Utica layer in SW Pennsylvania, where they have already drilled many wells into the Marcellus layer. Marcellus shale is estimated to contain 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough to supply the East Coast for about 50 years. Consol Energy tapped into the Utica formation and has a well that produces 1.5 million cubic feet of gas each day, in Belmont County, Ohio. Gas in both layers is obtained by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). That is the pumping of millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand. This method cracks open the shale and releases the gas.

From Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2011 as reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Feb. 22, quoting Penn State professor, Terry Engelder.

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