Appalachian Basin

JLC Meeting in Sullivan Co., NY Clears Air on Popular Marcellus Myths

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLC) held another great educational session last night in Sullivan County, NY. The theme of the night was correcting misconceptions about the Marcellus gas play.  The audience had the pleasure of three very informative presentations from John Conrad of Conrad Geosciences Corp, John Holko of Lenape Energy, and EID’s own Tom Shepstone.  Below is a quick rundown of each.

John Conrad’s presentation – found here – focused mostly on the process of hydraulic fracturing and the often exaggerated risk to water resources. John informed the audience the Marcellus Shale sits an estimated 5,000 feet below us (in NY, anyway…it’s even deeper in PA) or, put another way, the same distance from the top of the Grand Canyon to the bottom. Within that 5,000 feet of separation exists other layers of  virtually impermeable rock (sandstone, shale, etc) . After a fracturing operation is complete and no more pressure is being forced down the well, stabilization occurs with fluid and gas taking the path of least resistance back up the well. John didn’t spend a lot of time telling us his life story  or issuing arm wrestling challenges.  Rather, he simply laid down some common sense facts in the context of the science, as he also did in the Q&A session, where he put natural gas development risks in perspective:

Here are some other points to consider:

  • The volume of fluid used during the fracturing job could never fill the 5,000 feet of separation between the aquifer — even if no barriers at all existed.
  • Even if any of that stuff did have any chance of making it back to the surface, the already diluted fluid would further dilute as the intervening rock layers act as a filter.
  • Finally: ground water is stratified by density which means the heavier fluids would be forced downward away from the surface

Lenape’s John Holko focused on taking down the argument that only those who own their minerals stand to benefit from responsible natural gas development.  Just ain’t true at all, according to Holko — and the presentation he made is pretty darn compelling on that point. Click here to take a look.  Kudos to the JLC for putting on such a fine event.  I hope to attend many more such events.  Another is coming up on June 13 in Deposit, NY, so mark your calendars!  It will be at 7:00 PM at the Deposit School.

1 Comment

Post A Comment