Expert: State’s gas industry remains strong

The average gas well in the Marcellus Shale is producing about the three times the amount of a well in the Barnett Shale in Texas, according to an industry expert.

Terry Engelder, a Penn State University geoscientist, said there’s no reason to believe that natural gas resources to be found in Pennsylvania won’t be here for a long time.

Engelder, 67, who spoke during a Penn State Cooperative Extension webinar Thursday, conceded that production levels for wells do decrease over time, but that’s no reason to believe the industry isn’t strong.

He said a number of drilling naysayers put out disinformation that the state’s natural gas industry is declining.

Susquehanna and Bradford counties as well as parts of southwestern Pennsylvania remain the “sweet spots” of gas well production.

The state’s 10 most productive wells, he noted, have been located in Greene and Wyoming counties as well as Susquehanna and Bradford counties.

“There are still wells out there that haven’t been connected to infrastructure,” said Engelder, who is considered a leading advocate of shale gas development.

Engelder limited his discussion to gas production.

He didn’t discuss possible adverse impacts from drilling such as wear and tear on roads and environmental problems.

It was Engelder who predicted prior to the state’s gas industry boom that some 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be recovered from the Marcellus formation – the amount the U.S. uses in about 2 1/2 years.

He later said there are likely even more gas deposits.

Engelder said he’s astounded by reports from those who insists there has been a spectacular decline in gas well production.

The cumulative production for gas wells in the state was at 4.8 trillion cubic feet as of June 2013.

“Most wells have paid for themselves already,” he said. “Natural gas will benefit America in the long run.”