Appalachian Basin

Seeing is Believing

With so much opinionated media coverage on the Marcellus Shale natural gas play, I decided to get out there and experience the phenomenon for myself by traveling around to two of the biggest hot spots — Montrose and Dimock. What an eye opening experience it was. This is something everybody should do before rendering judgment on the issue in PA and NY. Let me share some of what I saw.

The first well site was recently completed, and as you can see — it is a series of six horizontally drilled wells. There are three on each side each pointing outward.  Take notice of howorganized and clean this particular well site is. If you look way to the left you can hardly see the pipeline poking out of the ground; just another example of the extra care taken by producers to minimize the environmental footprint. Although the pad is visible from the road, the machinery and equipment connected to it is not.  Moreover, this pad will be reclaimed shortly after the well is completed, and the footprint narrowed when all is done.  Interestingly, there is a massive new home constructed across the road from the pad, which was built as the latter was being developed.

Example of a clean production well with little impact

This next site is also in production mode. What is most interesting about this site is its proximity to Elk Lake High School, which has been able to keep its taxes low while making improvements to their facilities as a result of natural gas revenues.  We hope to tell more of that story soon. Notice the amount of care given to this site in terms of its set up and cleanliness. Also important to note is the impressive amount of thick grass growing around the site. I wish I could get my grass to grow that well around Harvey’s Lake. Maybe I need to dig a gas well, huh? Pay particular attention at the end of this video to the actually distance wells are drilled from each other.

The final well site we visited is also in production mode. It is a similar setup as the rest of the sites visited and again cleanliness around the well is top notch. What is great about this particular site is at the end of the tour I turned around and took a picture at what was across the street. If you look closely you can see a number of residents in the area are reinvesting their royalties back into things like new houses and barns.  The new house is, once again, a large one and is being built simultaneously with well development. These are things that would not be possible without the natural gas industry.

View from Marcellus Shale well pad

While this is only a quick insight into the setup of well sites, it demonstrates how little they actually impact the surrounding area.  Indeed, most of the impact is positive as landowners improve their properties. I hope these insights will spark your interest in exploring areas with natural gas drilling.  Please contact us if you’d like to make a tour and we’ll set you up, giving you a chance to evaluate impacts for yourself, instead of listening to the much exaggerated explanations of activists committed to stopping economic development of our region. Until you get out there and spend the day looking at all of the business in local restaurants and shops and seeing all the new construction (hotels, machine shops, equipment rentals, etc) in the real “gas land” you’ll never appreciate it or understand it.

To view a full slide show of our well tour click here!


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