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Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Marcellus Shale. History of Marcellus Shale. Marcellus Shale is located in the following counties in Pennsylvania;. Clearfield Indiana Cambria Somerset Westmorland Fayette Alleghany Washington Greene Bedford Potter Tioga Bradford

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Marcellus Shale

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Indiana university of pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Marcellus Shale

History of marcellus shale

History of Marcellus Shale

Marcellus Shale is located in the following counties in Pennsylvania;

  • Clearfield

  • Indiana

  • Cambria

  • Somerset

  • Westmorland

  • Fayette

  • Alleghany

  • Washington

  • Greene

  • Bedford

  • Potter

  • Tioga

  • Bradford

  • Warren

  • McKean

  • Crawford

  • Venango

  • Lawrence

  • Forest

  • Clarion

  • Butler

  • Beaver

  • Armstrong

  • Elk

  • Susquehanna

  • Wayne

  • Pike

  • Lycoming

  • Sullivan

  • Wyoming.

History continued

History Continued…

  • The Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Field formation, which extends through Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

  • This shale rock formation was named after a little town of Marcellus New York.

  • The shale extends over 575 miles and has a thickness of up to 900 feet.

  • It has been estimated that over 165 trillion cubic feet of natural gas can be extracted from this region and it is estimated the region can produce natural gas for 150 years.



  • The process involves injecting high volumes of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to release natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale.

  • Hydraulic fracturing – or "hydrofracking" – poses many risks to the environment, particularly to unfiltered water supplies.

Hydraulic fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Consists of pumping a fluid and a propping material such as sand down the well under high pressure to create fractures in the gas-bearing rock.

  • The propping material (usually referred to as a "proppant") holds the fractures open, allowing more gas to flow into the well than would naturally.

  • No blast or explosion is created by the hydraulic fracturing process, which has been used in New York since at least the 1950s.

  • Hydraulic fracturing technology is especially helpful for "tight" rocks like shale.

Hydrofracking continued

Hydrofracking Continued

  • When companies have an excess of hydraulic fracturing fluids, they either use them at another job or dispose of them. 

  • Oil and gas wastes are often flowed back to and stored in pits on the surface.

  •  Often these pits are unlined. 

  • But even if they are lined, the liners can tear and contaminate soil and possibly groundwater with toxic chemicals.

Quantity of water needed for hydraulic fracturing

Quantity of water needed for hydraulic fracturing

  • Hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale will require large volumes of water to fracture the rocks and produce the desired amount of gas. Each well may use more than one million gallons of water.

Water pits

Water pits

  • The injection of these chemicals pose a short-term threat to drinking water quality, it is quite possible that there could be long-term negative consequences for USDWs from these fracturing fluids.

  • According to the EPA study, and studies conducted by the oil and gas industry, between 20 and 40% of the fracturing fluids may remain in the formation, which means the fluids could continue to be a source of groundwater contamination for years to come.

Disposal of hydraulic f racturing f luid

Disposal of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid

  • Fluid removed from the well is required by law to be handled, transported and disposed of properly.

  • Surface water discharges of the flow back are regulated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which requires flow back to be treated prior to discharge into surface water or underground injection prior to discharge.

  • Treatment is typically performed by wastewater treatment facilities. Underground injection of flow back is regulated by either EPA Underground Injection Control (UIC) program or a state with primary UIC enforcement authority. Injection of natural gas production wastes would be considered a class two injection well.

Chemicals and disposal

Chemicals and Disposal

  • With each fracking process anywhere from 80 to 300 tons of chemicals are used.

  • Currently the EPA has listed only fifty four chemicals which include Boric acid, Formaldehyde, Ethylhexanol and 2-butoxyethanol.

  • Out of the fifty four chemicals identified twenty one are readily airborne and thirty four are soluble meaning that they can be absorbed into the water table as well as moving to the surface.

Drilling permits 2007 2010

Drilling Permits 2007-2010

Drilling in pennsylvania

Drilling in Pennsylvania

  • The number of wells drilled and permitted from January through April of this year exceeds the total number of wells drilled and permitted in all of 2008.

  • The number of Marcellus wells drilled in Pennsylvania was 196 in 2008, 763 in 2009, and 280 in the first four months of 2010.

  • The total number of wells permitted in 2008 was 519, 1985 in 2009, and 584 at the beginning of 2010.

Monthly average

Monthly Average

  • The number of permits and drilled wells per month are 4.4 times higher in the first four months of 2010 than when the DEP began recording Marcellus Shale activity in 2008.

  • Across Pennsylvania’s Marcellus region, the monthly average number of wells drilled was 16.3 in 2008, 63.6 in 2009, and 70.0 so far in 2010.

  • The monthly average number of permits issued in 2008 was 43.3, 165.4 in 2009, and 146.0 so far in 2010. 

The future

The Future

  • We can expect up to 5,000 gas wells to be drilled across the northern and western parts of Pennsylvania.

  • Streams and rivers are at risk due to overconsumption of water.

  • Pollution is a risk factor as well. For example in 2008 residents and business owners alongside the Monongahela River were warned not to drink the water, given that it was contaminated by discharges from the gas wells.

The future1

The Future

It has been estimated that during the three stages of a gas well 400 to 1,300 truck trips are required which include the drilling, fracking and maintenance phases of every gas well.

  • There are a number of increased damages to roads since the trucks carrying water to the fracking site can weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 tons fully loaded.

The future2

The Future

  • Damage to the environment could be particularly heavy. In Clearfield County a well blowout caused 35,000 gallons of drilling fluid and natural gas to be released into the air and the ground.

  • Accidents could be more likely in the future. In 2010 out of the 1,866 inspections carried out by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection there was 565 violations and 207 wells that did not pass inspection.

Marcellus shale companies

Marcellus Shale Companies

  • Chesapeake Energy

  • Anadarko Petroleum

  • XTO Energy

  • EXCO Resources

  • EOG resources

  • Penn Virginia

  • Range Resources

  • Equitable resources

  • CNX Gas

  • Cabot Oil and Gas

  • Rex Energy

  • Southwestern Energy

  • Unit Corporation

  • Talisman Energy

Marcellus shale companies continued

Marcellus Shale Companies Continued

  • Atlas Energy Resources

  • Carrizo Oil and Gas

  • Petroleum Development

  • Dominion Resources

  • Continental resources

  • Marathon oil

  • Hess Corp

  • Newfield Exploration

  • Console Energy

  • Trans Energy

  • EnCana

  • Stone Energy

Marcellus shale companies continued1

Marcellus Shale Companies Continued

  • Pioneer Drilling

  • State Oil

  • Williams

  • Gastar Exploration

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