Are there plans to add a permanent pipeline for the drilling companies’ water supplies to come into the area or will the locals in shale areas have to hear the rumbling of water trucks forever?

Yes, pipelines can be used to transport water to a well pad and some operators are moving in this direction when logistically possible. The responsible development of natural gas from shale formations involves both the use of fresh water and the return of water from underground formations. Water is often transported by pipeline for its […]

When is the pipeline ready for operation?

The first step in pipeline construction is obtaining the appropriate permits and right of way (ROW) easements to construction the line. Upon completion, there are a number of tests conducted to ensure the structural integrity of the line before it goes into operation. These tests include x-raying the welds on the pipe to ensure mechanical […]

What happens to the brine?

The vast majority, upwards of 90 percent of flow-back water (brine) is recycled and reused for future well completion activities. When the water returns to the surface, operators can either treat the water at the wellsite and store it for future use, or transport the water to a centralized water treatment facility where it can […]

Is export, via ocean transport, a realistic possibility? What will it take to make that possible?

Yes. In fact, as of September 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy has approved four export facilities with 20 additional permits awaiting review and approval. For additional information on liquefied natural gas (LNG), visit the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas.

Where and how is the fracking solution disposed of?

According to the most recent data gathered by the Pa. DEP, Marcellus Shale producers are recycling and reusing more than 90 percent of the water that returns to the surface. The remaining water is disposed of in EPA-approved and permitted underground injection wells. MSC member companies have pioneered large-scale water recycling technologies over the past […]

How is water actually withdrawn from a stream?

With a hose, water is pumped out of an approved stream at a designated withdrawal point and then either transported by truck or conveyed through a water pipeline to a well location. Water withdrawal for natural gas drilling is one of Pennsylvania’s tightly regulated processes. Depending in which part of the Marcellus Shale play the […]

Where do you take your polluted water? How much do you store on site? How do you treat it at site and for final treatment?

Approximately 10 to 30 percent of the total water used in the hydraulic fracturing process returns to the surface as what is called flowback water. This remaining water, which contains naturally occurring elements as well as certain chemicals used during the extraction process, is captured and stored for treatment or disposal. Emerging technology allows operators […]

How much gas stays here in vs. being sent to other places?

Natural gas operators in Pennsylvania annually produce more than 198 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Pennsylvania consumes about 804 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year, so these levels satisfy 25 percent of the state’s annual demand. Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is providing a wide array of economic and environmental benefits […]

Is there a central sourcing point for the industry?

In Pennsylvania, the best source of Marcellus Shale gas is in the western and north-central/northeastern portions of the state due to the depth, thickness and total organic content of the resource in those areas.

Are empty wells going to be used to pump in polluted oil byproducts?

Approximately 10 to 30 percent of the total water used in the hydraulic fracturing process returns to the surface as what is called flowback water. This remaining water, which contains naturally occurring elements is captured and stored within the formation itself. The flowback water that returns to the surface is treated and reused or sent […]

How many wells are there currently? How much water used at each well? Where is the water from? How many trucks operate at each well? What chemicals are in the slurry? Where does the polluted toxic slurry go?

There have been roughly 8,000 Marcellus wells drilled in Pennsylvania, though since that number is always growing, we encourage you to consult updated Pa. Department of Environmental Protection records, which include the number of wells drilled in each county and by each operator; the amount of natural gas produced by each well; the number of […]

What happens to the land after fracking is completed in a specific area?

Natural gas producers aim to leave behind a small footprint for each well pad through the restoration process. Restoration involves landscaping and contouring the property as closely as possible to pre-drilling conditions. Property owners generally see a small wellhead on a level concrete pad, a small amount of equipment, two to three water storage tanks […]

Is the industry open to addressing unintended consequences when they occur?

Absolutely, and we do. Our industry takes the protection of our environment and surroundings seriously. After all, the men and women who work to develop the Marcellus Shale are the same men and women who live and raise their families in these communities. Pennsylvania’s extensive regulatory system holds companies liable to remediate any violations; pay […]

Why aren’t land agents held to the same standard as real estate agents?

The natural gas industry is committed to being good neighbors and positively impacting our communities by best practices. The American Association of Professional Landmen offers recognized certifications to land agents based on competency, proficiency and professionalism.

What is the Halliburton Exemption?

The short answer is that it is a myth. The bipartisan 2005 energy bill does not contain an exemption or “loophole,” as some have called it, for hydraulic fracturing, as the practice was not regulated under federal law by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prior to 2005. In Pennsylvania, natural gas companies are required by […]

What happens to the water that gets polluted during the fracking process?

Natural gas development from the Marcellus Shale is water-intensive, yet there are a host of regulations, safeguards and practices in place to ensure that our region’s water resources are effectively managed and protected. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of the total water used in the hydraulic fracturing process returns to the surface as what is […]

What are the potential health benefits to the citizens of PA resulting from a decrease in the use of coal to generate electricity in the states to the West of PA?

Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel with real public health and environmental benefits for all Pennsylvanians and the nation. As natural gas continues to be safely produced at record numbers here in Pennsylvania and across the country, air quality has been improving at an impressive rate. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to the […]

Are there long-term plans to address the rehabilitation of exhausted well sites and loss of economy in ‘Gas Towns’, i.e., the collapse of ‘Coal Towns’ & ‘Steel Towns’?

The entire shale development process—from construction of the site, drilling, completions, production and site restoration (rehabilitation) is tightly regulated by the Pennsylvania DEP. Once a well has finished producing, the company must submit a well site restoration plan. One of the MSC’s Recommended Practices is devoted to Site Planning, Development and Restoration. Economic planning is […]

I have yet to be convinced it is safe, since rigs blow up, horribly pollute water, and cause earthquakes. THIS IS SAFE???

Thank you for your question. As you may know, the oil and gas industry is tightly regulated in Pennsylvania by the state’s DEP and follows stringent health and safety protocols to protect workers, the public and the environment. Regarding the protection of water resources, hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated groundwater, as confirmed by U.S. Energy […]

Are they going to maintain the local structure?

Our industry works collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders as well as government and regulatory officials to ensure that the concerns and needs of communities across Pennsylvania are effectively addressed. In fact, in addition to the more than $1.8 billion in Pennsylvania state taxes that the industry has paid since 2006, the natural gas […]

Have issues about the waste?

Though your question is a bit vague, we believe you may referring to water (i.e., flowback and produced) management. As you may know, there has been a remarkable trend toward greater use of recycling technologies to ensure water is reused in future operations. As the overall shale development process has evolved, waste recycling and disposal […]

What forces produced water to the surface and how long can it be expected that this flow of water would last in a well?

Produced water is often made up of naturally occurring water found in shale formations coupled with water introduced into the formation during the completions – or hydraulic fracturing phase – that flows up through the wellbore during the life of the well. Like flowback water – or water that returns to the surface immediately following […]

Are you researching new or different methods without using chemicals?

As you may know, sand and water make up 99.5 percent of the liquids used in the well completions – or hydraulic fracturing – process, while the remaining 0.05 percent is comprised of additives which serve a specific purpose, such as reducing friction in the wellbore, preventing corrosion and eliminating bacteria. These additives are needed […]

What happens to the water after the well is developed? Can’t discharge it. Onsite treatment can’t treat it all.

There has been an extraordinary trend – driven by technological advancements – over the past several years as it relates to recycling and reusing flowback and produced water across shale operations in Pennsylvania.  According to the most recent data gathered by the Pa. DEP, shale producers are recycling and reusing, in some cases, more than […]

Can the industry go above and beyond what is required by regulation?

Absolutely, in fact, that’s a key tenant of our Guiding Principles. Through advancements in water management and recycling technologies to making certain that wells are constructed to ensure groundwater is protecting, our member companies routinely exceed standard regulations. While many of these common sense efforts are not required, they are taken to ensure that we […]

Engage in research geared towards reducing negative impacts and fostering positive impacts?

MSC member companies and environmental regulators here in Pennsylvania are continuously looking for ways to improve the various aspects of natural gas development. A few examples include regional air monitoring tests by Pa. DEP, a recently announced year-long NORM study and a white paper encouraging operators to utilize mine water in their operations – all […]

Given the refining and port capacity, what products, etc. flow through the Philadelphia region?

Pennsylvania has a historic opportunity before it: cleaner air, more affordable energy and sustained job creation. Philadelphia is a large part of that. Opportunities are blossoming along the Marcellus Multiplier, and for good reason. Since sustainable shale development has come to the region, once shuttered refineries are again online; companies that had previously gone overseas […]

What policies are in place in case of disaster?

Based on best practices and crisis preparedness, companies have in place incident management plans for a broad range of operational scenarios and natural disasters. Plans contain provisions for handling particular emergencies and clearly assign authority and duties to ensure effective response. Disaster preparation training is conducted by industry, to ensure adequate training is in place in […]

What is the long term plan for rehabilitation of well sites? What will be the state of “gas towns” after the wells are done producing?

After a well has been drilled and hydraulically fractured, production equipment is installed. Once the well is connected to the necessary midstream pipeline infrastructure and begins producing natural gas, areas of the well site that are no longer needed are removed and subsequently reclaimed. To learn more about these reclamation efforts, please review our Recommended […]

How do they do it? Is it a pressurized thing? How do they extract gas or convert it?

Prior to drilling a well, an operator must first lease land from landowners, obtain the required permits from state and federal regulators and build a pad site. Once these steps are completed, a drilling rig is assembled on location and the drilling process begins. Once the drilling process is completed (it usually take 20-30 days […]

How much can be withdrawn per minute, per hour, per day?

That really depends on a host of factors, principally supply and demand. Thankfully, as you may know, Pennsylvania is a water-rich state. And while the safe development of clean-burning natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is a water-intensive process, it’s also a process that is tightly-regulated, particularly as it relates to water management. State and […]

Is fracking safe?

This is a very common question that we are routinely asked. Please click here to learn more about hydraulic fracturing, its long and proven record, as well as the regulations in place to ensure that these operations are carried out in way that protects our environment. Additionally, we would encourage you to visit to […]

Is there zero liquid discharge available?

Yes. Many operators are reusing and recycling the vast majority of the flowback water that returns to the surface after the well is hydraulically fractured. This water is then either transported to a recycling facility or treated on-location for future use. Some flowback water is transported to EPA regulated underground injection wells for disposal.

How risky is it to drill?

Like any industry and/or industrial process, risk mitigation is a key factor when exploring for and producing natural gas. While there are dozens upon dozens of regulations that govern natural gas development in Pennsylvania – all aimed at reducing risk and protecting the environment – at the end of the day, humans are involved in […]

Is there any other way to contain the fracking?

We are routinely asked about the completions – or hydraulic fracturing – process of natural gas development. Please click here to learn more about hydraulic fracturing, its long and proven record, as well as the regulations in place to ensure that these operations are carried out in way that protects our environment. Additionally, we would […]

What is the natural gas conversion to natural gas vehicles?

Expanding natural gas use to meeting our nation’s growing transportation needs carries a host of important benefits, ranging from cost-savings, cleaner-air and strengthened energy security. Click here to read more about these benefits and the efforts underway to leverage these abundant, clean-burning resources across our transportation sector. We would also encourage you review the following […]

How many home values have you destroyed today?

While we’re committed to answering every question we’re asked here at Learn About Shale, we disagree with the premise of your question. To the contrary, the real estate market in many Marcellus producing counties is quite strong, with home values appreciating and local economies surging. And while there will certainly be those who oppose natural […]

What education is needed to understand that hydraulic fracturing is safe?

Each day, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and our member companies are engaging communities across the commonwealth and region to help inform all stakeholders about the natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing process. And while natural gas development does involve some risk (like all industrial processes), the MSC works collaboratively with federal, state and local […]

What are ALL of the known risks of this?

Like any industrial process, there is always some risk associated. The natural gas industry is not any different. However, mitigating those risks, through robust and sound environmental regulations and a commitment by the industry to operate in accordance with those regulations, is key to mitigating risk and responsibly developing clean-burning natural gas. Here in Pennsylvania, […]

What are the 3 biggest, long term risk to this country caused by drilling for natural gas?

While we appreciate your concerns, we certainly do not agree with the unsubstantiated premise that long-term risks associated with natural gas development – a tightly-regulated process – exist. We do, however, recognize that the safe, responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas can, and must, play a key role in our nation’s energy, environmental and […]

How do you change gas into a liquid for industrial use?

In order to liquefy natural gas, it needs to be cooled to –260° F (–162° C). Once cooled and converted into a liquid, the natural gas becomes 1/600th of its original volume, allowing it to be used as a transportation fuel or shipped safely aboard in specially designed LNG vessels. When re-gasified, LNG becomes identical […]

What is the industry doing to reduce the amount of water being used?

New technologies are allowing producers to recycle and reuse upwards of 85-90 percent of all water that returns to the surface during the completions process. In some cases, producers are recycling 100 percent of their flowback water. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the reuse of water in the hydraulic fracturing process and stated, […]

Why is there such a lack of transparency by the industry and the regulators when it comes to informing citizens?

We are sorry to hear you feel that way. Transparency is a key tenant of our organization’s mission, as outlined in the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Guiding Principles. As an industry, we take great pride and have made great strides in increasing the amount of information industry shares with the public, specifically as it relates to […]

What is being done to address the dust from those roads?

Natural gas development is certainly an industrial activity that in some cases, and depending on the current weather conditions, can cause dust and dirt to be tracked onto local roadways during certain phases of development. In most cases, operators have maintenance crews that sweep entry/exit points. In the event this is not the case in […]

How do you know with certainty that our drinking water will not be affected?

History, strong regulatory oversight and modernized well casing standards, is the short answer. Specific well integrity and cement regulations have been put in place to ensure potable aquifer and private water wells are protected. Additionally, operators are required to test all know water wells and surface waters within 2,500 feet of a proposed well site […]

Does fracking occur once in each well or is it a continuous process that is repeated constantly?

 In the vast majority of cases, a well is fractured once. However, in some cases, operators may choose to re-frac a well, though that is not common practice. 

Is it controlled enough and constructed enough to know where it is headed?

We’re going to guess that your question refers to the movement of gas. If not, please resubmit and we’d be happy to take another shot at providing you with a solid answer. Yes. Natural gas wells are connected by pipeline at the wellhead. These are called gathering lines. Gathering lines are then connected to trunk […]

Does the industry have a BMP manual with practices for protecting sensitive areas?

There are a host of regulations that protect sensitive areas. For example, prior to a natural gas operator constructing a well pad or pipeline, they are required by state law to conduct multiple environmental and wetland reviews to ensure there are not any threatened or endangered species in the area. As for best, or recommended […]

Can the industry use pipelines instead of trucks to move water?

Yes, pipelines can be used to transport water to a well pad and in fact, some operators are moving in this direction when logistically possible. In January the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) published Recommended Practices (RP) for Water Pipelines, the sixth in a series of guidance documents aimed at further enhancing the safe development of […]

How will you ensure the played out wells stay plugged 100 years from now?

Pennsylvania state law details the plugging requirements for operators in the state. All wells must be plugged once a well is decommissioned and no longer producing natural gas. Prior to abandoning a well, operators must provide the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with notice of plugging to afford DEP with the opportunity to be […]