May 7th, 2012
Marcellus shale, also known as Marcellus Formation, is a unit of marine sedimentary rock. Marcellus Shale is a Middle Devonian-age black, low density, and very organically rich shale. This black shale was deposited in relatively deep water with no oxygen. It can sometimes contain limestone beds, concentrations of iron pyrite and siderite. Marcellus shale was named by James Hall, 1839, after the village of Marcellus, New York. The location of Marcellus Shale extends across a lot of the Appalachian Basin of eastern North America. It stretches approximately 600 miles into states such as Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Also in small parts of Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia have some Marcellus Shale. Marcellus Shale has many untapped natural gas reserves that have very high demand in the markets along the East Coast of the United States. This makes Marcellus Shale a good target for energy development.
Marcellus Shale is an attractive target but also is an expensive target. This is because Marcellus shale is approximately a mile or so below the surface of the Earth. The way to get to the natural gas within the Marcellus shale would be to drill. The cost of drilling is ridiculously high, so wells must yield a great volume of natural gas to pay for the drilling costs. These drilling costs can be millions of dollars for a vertical well and a lot more for horizontal wells.
The drilling process is very complicated and it is a lot of work and money. There are two types of drilling wells; horizontal wells and vertical wells. Vertical well were drilled mostly in past years. They were just straight down and normally had much less natural gas production then horizontal. Horizontal wells unlike vertical uses tons of water (about 10% more), approximately four million gallons per well. These wells start out straight down then gradually curved until is it horizontal and is drilled... [continues]
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