The Marcellus gas pocket is the largest shale rock formation in North America. This formation is the sediment left over after the Devonian period 400 million years ago when the Appalachian basin was a seabed. This is when the sediment layer was placed there that has developed into the limestone and shale rock formation left over from the fossil remains of animals and the plant that that lived in the oxygen deprived waters.
Officially this region has been given to names of the Marcellus shale region and the Devonian shale region. The latter of the two is on the western edge of the deposit. These shale rock deposits reach as far north as under Great Lake Erie and to the south as far as Mississippi. To the east it can be found in New York down the east coast to Virginia and to the west in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The largest deposit of this trapped oil and natural gas is in the state of Pennsylvania, but almost the entire state of West Virginia is also a prime place for the extraction of these needed energy reserves. To gauge the vastness of the natural gas exploration that is currently going on in Pennsylvania, there are 8280 permitted wells exploring for natural gas in the month of October, 2011.
To extract this trapped natural gas and oil from the shale rock bed, the use of hydrofracking is required. This is because the energy reserves as encapsulated in the rock bed and not in an open reservoir as many of the easy to extract sources in the past that have already been tapped were found.
To make the most out of each well and the hydrofracking procedure, the process of horizontal drilling is now being used. This allows for a greater area of the shale rock bed to be directly exposed to the pressure of the fracking process. By proceeding in this manner, more of the shale rock bed can be fractured releasing a larger amount of trapped oil and natural gas for extraction at each well.
With the wells that have hit natural gas, this creates a larger gas pocket under the ground for a quicker recovery of this needed energy supply. This reduces the number of wells needed in the area to extract the maximum amount of the trapped energy at a lower cost.
The Marcellus gas pocket created by each of the hydrofracking procedures being done is part of the largest source of domestic natural gas production in existence today. Without this energy reserve being exploited, the cost of natural gas to the American consumer would increase dramatically.
- Shale Gas Fracking (transloading.org)
- Marcellus Shale Natural Gas (transloading.org)
- Prediction for drilling in 2012: Production up; fewer leases (goerie.com)