Containing an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of gas, the Marcellus Shale is thought to be among the largest natural gas shale deposits in the world.
Some natural gas wells in Lycoming County are producing significantly higher volumes of gas than expected.
Chief Gathering LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Chief Oil and Gas, Thursday received a green light from the Lycoming County Planning Commission to expand a compressor station located on the Penn Township property of L. Neil Barto.
The compressor station boosts the pressure of the well gas to allow it to enter the transportation pipeline used to move the gas to market.
Wells owned by Chief Oil and Gas and other gas companies in the area served by the compressor station are producing high volumes of natural gas, according to planning commission documents.
The upgrade is needed to move those higher volumes into the transportation lines, according to the documents.
High yields such as those experienced by Chief Gathering are not uncommon in Lycoming County, as well as in other areas of the Marcellus Shale, said Thomas Murphy, a Penn State Cooperative Extension educator and authority on the Marcellus Shale.
"What we're seeing, as reported by a variety of companies, is the gas yields they've been getting is very strong and beyond what their initial expectations were," Murphy said. "We're seeing that to be a characteristic of wells on a regional basis, including wells in Lycoming, Tioga and Bradford counties and surrounding areas."
"Initially, companies were thinking yields in Marcellus wells in this part of Pennsylvania would initially produce 2-to-4 million cubic feet per day," he said. "Many companies are now reporting to investors and others that wells are yielding 6-to-8 million cubic feet per day, with some wells producing even higher yields."
Murphy said this fall, gas yield data for individual wells will be available to the public via the state Department of Environmental Protection website.
Legislation requiring gas companies to report yield data to the agency was sponsored by state Sen. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, he said.