A Community Conversation on Natural Gas

Over the past few months, the Marcellus Shale Coalition asked Pennsylvanians their questions about natural gas development.
This website will answer those questions straightforwardly and honestly.

Q: Is that the only way it can be extracted?

The safe, tightly-regulated production of clean-burning natural gas involves several fundamental steps:

  • Companies lease mineral rights from land- and mineral-owners;
  • Companies then perform basic earthmoving activities to prepare a drilling location, or a pad site, for the drilling phase in accordance with local, state and federal regulations;
  • A rig arrives and begins the drilling process, which typically takes between 20-30 days per well, depending on factors such as depth and lateral distance;
  • Upon completion of the drilling phase, the rig is disassembled and oil field services companies arrive to begin the completions and hydraulic fracturing process, which takes approximately one week per well, based on well depth and lateral length; and
  • The midstream company constructs the gathering pipeline infrastructure to move natural gas from the wellhead to the transmission and distribution network.

At each stage in this process, a host of state and federal regulations are in place to ensure that our environment is protected. So to answer your question, yes, the fundamentals of developing oil and natural gas are well-established and safeguards are in place to protect our environment. However, and perhaps most importantly, technologies are constantly evolving, and natural gas producers continue to leverage cutting-edge technique to produce these clean-burning American resources in smarter, more efficient and environmentally-sensitive ways.

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