Abstract

Pennsylvania is not only the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry but also the focus of the modern Marcellus Shale gas play. For more than 150 yr, Pennsylvania has experienced a rich history of oil and gas exploration and production, witnessed the advent of modern petroleum regulations, and now sits deep in the heart of the largest domestic shale gas play the United States has ever seen. Although a known source rock for decades, the Marcellus Shale was not considered a viable gas reservoir until Range Resources Corporation (Range) discovered the play with its completion of the Renz No. 1 well in Washington County in October 2004. Using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques used by operators working the Barnett Shale gas play, Range has gone on to complete hundreds of horizontal shale gas wells in Washington County alone. Other operators have followed suit in counties from one corner of the state to the other, and as of June 2011, the Commonwealth has issued nearly 6500 Marcellus Shale gas well permits. Based on publicly reported well completion and production data, an average Marcellus Shale gas well requires 2.9 million gal of water during the hydraulic fracturing process and produces 1.3 mmcf gas/day. Furthermore, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that as of mid-2011, daily Marcellus Shale gas production in Pennsylvania exceeds 2.8 bcf. Because of the level of drilling activity and production associated with the Marcellus play, Pennsylvania has become the nexus of shale gas production and water management issues.

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