Change is coming to Williamsport Pennsylvania in the form of Marcellus Shale. The multi billion dollar bounty of natural gas which lies below the ground is going to make sure of that.
It stretches across West Virginia, eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania and southern New York. The deposit is said to contain enough natural gas to meet the heating, electricity and industrial needs of the densely populated Northeast. In April 2009, the United States Department of Energy estimated the Marcellus to contain 262 TCF of recoverable gas.
State University of New York at Fredonia geology professor Gary Lash estimated that the Marcellus contains enough natural gas to satisfy approximately two years' of total U.S. consumption, or a total value of approximately one trillion United States dollars.
Little wonder then that people are looking up old land owner records and wondering what they can get out of the deal.
Gas is preferred to coal for producing electrical energy. As per CH Energy Group President Steven Lant, the gas we use now comes from the Gulf of Mexico or from Canada. Both are locations much further than Pennsylvania's Allegheny Plateau.
It would make great economic sense to get the gas locally but there may be many more hurdles to cross before the shale gas can be extracted and used. Experts are predicting damage to the environment and many precautions will have to be taken.