The Marcellus Shale

The Marcellus Shale, which lies thousands of feet beneath the earth's surface through West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and southern New York State, was until recently, considered a non-productive source rock. However, thanks to advances in both drilling and completion technology, this formation is now considered one of the most prolific natural gas fields in the world. Due to its existing acreage ownership, Seneca is uniquely situated to capitalize on these technological advances. What changed the Marcellus from a non-productive source rock to a major natural gas producer? The answer is combining horizontal drilling techniques with hydraulic fracturing to stimulate the formation. The shale formation is very dense and requires that small fractures be created to allow the flow of natural gas contained in the formation. These fractures are created when a mixture of water, sand, and a minimal amount of chemical compounds is injected at high pressure into the formation. Once the fractures are created, the natural gas can be extracted from the formation.