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More on capture in Pennsylvania

December 1, 2011

[Dave Messersmith, extension educator at Penn State Cooperative Extension of Wayne County, provided us with these observations on some of the points in Tony Splendora’s letter printed last week. Splendora’s original in regular font; Messersmith’s comments in bold.]

Property owners in gas-drilling areas should know that, through the wonders of horizontal drilling, an innocent looking wellhead on an isolated half-acre is able to drill all points of the compass from where it sits and remove millions of cubic feet of gas (Yes, true. Actually estimated ultimate recovery rates for Marcellus wells exceed four billion cubic feet of gas over the well’s lifetime.) from beneath square miles of unleased land (gas producers/drillers are not allowed to drill under unleased land but any gas that migrates to a well bore from unleased lands can be produced or extracted. With that said, geologists estimate that natural gas migrates through the dense Marcellus shale at the rate of less than an one inch per year. So the fear of gas being removed from unleased land is largely unfounded.)

Gas drillers do not pay for the gas they remove from under property adjacent to or even a mile away from their drilling pads. (Not true. When a well pad is planned, gas producers create what is known as a “production unit,” which is made up of all leased properties in that particular unit. All people who own land in the unit share proportionally in gas royalties produced within that unit.)