Coffee Hour: Managing Marcellus: a Panel Discussion
This week's coffee hour will be a panel on "Managing Marcellus" with a variety of perspectives from professionals on all sides of the issues.
Discussion Facilitator James R. Grace, Goddard Chair in the School of Forest Resources, sets the context for the panel:
"The development of natural gas contained within the geologic formation called Marcellus shale will likely prove to be one of the most significant events in Pennsylvania history. The actions associated with this phenomenon will impact our citizens and communities economically, ecologically, socially, and politically.
"Marcellus shale is considered one of the largest gas bearing shale formations in the world. Over fifty percent of Pennsylvania is underlined by Marcellus shale. The proximity of Pennsylvania to the large urban markets of the eastern U.S. makes this gas play even more attractive.
"Since the first Pennsylvania wells were produced in 2003, Marcellus gas development has expanded at a furious pace. Currently there are over 40 national and multinational companies (all highly capitalized) operating within the commonwealth. These companies have acquired the lease rights on over nine million acres and Pennsylvania landowners have received more than $8 billion in bonus lease payments. Over 7,000 Marcellus wells have been permitted and drilling has been completed on over 3600 wells. Projections indicate that there could be as many as 60,000 wells by 2030.
"At this point in time, the discussion should not be focused on whether we should have Marcellus gas development within Pennsylvania—that horse is out of the barn. The more pertinent questions revolve around how we can manage the gas development activities in a manner which preserves our environmental quality of life and deals with our social needs while providing economic benefits to our citizens and bolsters our supply of clean energy.
"The panel assembled contains three professionals, working in the Marcellus arena. They will give their views from the industry, social, and environmental/water, perspectives on the challenges and issues involved with Marcellus gas development. Hopefully a vigorous question and discussion period will follow."
Penn State, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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