Pennsylvania Sees Big Money in Shale Gas
Shale gas drilling brought $389 million dollars to state and local budgets in Pennsylvania last year, and is set to get a whole lot bigger. Industry experts presented these figures to the Pittsburgh city council this week. They predict as many as 1,400 wells could be drilled within the city limits alone.
- Shale gas a domestic growth story
- Gas cleaner to burn than oil or coal
- Getting it out of the ground presents environmental challenge
BP Disaster Spurs Interest in Gas Drilling
$200 a barrel oil got people talking about shale gas in earnest in 2008. Boone Pickens promoted a plan to free the U.S. from dependency on foreign oil. The explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig and the ensuing spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought the natural gas alternative into even sharper focus.
Energy companies have been leasing rights to drill for gas in Pennsylvania and other states for several years. Stories abound about big paydays for ordinary people in rural America. Gas’s reputation for being easy on the environment makes it seem like a free lunch. The Pittsburgh city council heard the industry could drill up to 80,000 wells state-wide. A landowner gives up important rights when leasing subsurface interests and you should be informed of your legal rights and consequences if you’re thinking about it.
More recently a number of people have taken a closer look at the process for getting the gas out of the ground. “Fracking” injects fluid into the ground at high pressure to break up rock and release the gas. A number of landowners have complained that fracking for gas has ruined their well water. This concerns environmentalists and government officials. The gas-rich Marcellus shale formation lies in the same area as much of the groundwater supply for millions of people living in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
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