You are on page 1of 9

PA L E O N T O L O G I C A L R E S E A R C H I N S T I T U T I O N

T H E S C I E N C E B E N E AT H T H E S U R FA C E
M A R C E L L U S

S H A L E

I S S U E

N U M B E R

6

Understanding Drilling
Technology

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 2

A discussion of the technologies associated with unconventional natural
gas drilling and how it compares to more familiar conventional drilling
techniques.
Introduction
The Marcellus Shale is an unconventional natural gas resource found
beneath the surface of Pennsylvania,
Ohio, West Virginia, and New York.
The natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale is requires unconventional
methods of extraction, in this case
high-volume, horizontal hydraulic
fracturing, because of the way the
natural gas is trapped in the formation. Until fairly recently, it was not
economically feasible to extract the
natural trapped in a tight shale like
the Marcellus. In recent years, however, a new combination of existing
drilling technologies – horizontal
drilling and hydraulic fracturing –
has emerged that makes this possible.
Conventional Natural Gas
Extraction
Unconventional natural gas
extraction is new to New York
State, but gas has been produced

by conventional drilling methods
in New York since the 1800’s. A
conventional gas resource is usually one in which the gas forms in
a specific rock unit, called a source
rock (the Marcellus is a source rock),
but migrates out of this rock unit
toward areas of lower pressure. It is
eventually trapped by an impermeable rock unit, called a reservoir or
reserve. Sometimes the reservoir is
a void created when a layer of rock
has broken and moved beneath the
surface; sometimes the reservoir is
created when gas collects in the pore
spaces in rock layers that have formed
subterranean ‘hills’ Conventional
drilling techniques require geologists
to find reservoirs of natural gas, and
then drill down into them to extract
the gas.
Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to set up drilling operations directly above a natural gas reservoir. If
the oil or gas deposit is located under

an urban area, for instance, surface
conditions would not allow drilling
there. To get around this problem,
conventional oil and gas wells can be
drilled at various angles underground
in a process called directional drilling.
One version of directional drilling, horizontal drilling, starts with
a vertical well bore (the hole the well
makes under the surface) which is
then angled until it is oriented horizontally. From there, the well can be
drilled horizontally underground for

MUSEUM OF THE EARTH
AT THE PALEONTOLOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTION

1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, New York 14850
www.museumoftheearth.org/marcellusshale

Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012

/ 1

2 Horizontal wells.thousands of feet. This is called fish hook drilling. creating hydraulic fractures. Extracting this natural gas requires 1) additional surface area contact between the well bore to the source rock.. Just like the drilling process itself. use between 2 and 9 million gallons of water. and have hooked back upward in order to access particularly difficult-to-reach oil or gas pockets. in order to stimulate well production. ceramic beads) sand grains that are used to hold open the fractures created during hydraulic fracturing. napalm and gasoline. sometimes illegally. by any of a variety of techniques. Horizontal drilling provides access to reservoirs that are too thin or compacted to be accessed with conventional vertical wells. which is provided by drilling horizontal wells. Vertical wells typically use 20. to crack rocks in shallow wells.g. or a combination of both) that makes a resource unconventional. largely through trial and error experimentation. which requires both horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a geologically unique reservoir rock to be economically viable. surrounding the well bore that is used to conduct the drilling and hydraulic fracture activities) is smaller than a horizontal well pad – a fraction of an acre to about 3 acres for a vertical pad and 3 2 / Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 to 6 acres for a horizontal well pad. A vertical well pad (the area at the surface. The Marcellus Shale is one such tight source rock.1 Unconventional natural gas drilling is considered “unconventional” because the natural gas has not migrated from the source rock into a reservoir.3 Hydraulic fracturing operations in both vertical and horizontal wells incorporate a variety of chemicals to enhance recovery of oil or gas. It is also used to decrease the hydraulic pressure in the areas nearest a vertical well in order to minimize drilling complications. but also through regulation. either create or expand fractures in the rock. Since then. The remainder of this discussion will consider the unconventional natural gas drilling being used in the Marcellus Shale. and throughout the United States. however. water and acid combined. The size of the well pad in both horizontal and vertical drilling operations increases as on-site storage needs increase for equipment and fluid. which is provided by hydraulic fracturing. 4. These fracturing fluids. so hydraulic fracturing is used to extract the natural gas from it.000 – 80. and New York State regulations state that any well fractured with more than 300. but remains trapped within the source rock. when under high pressure. Horizontal drilling is the type of directional drilling that is currently being used to access the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Fracturing source rock in order to increase gas well production in conventional resources has a long history in New York State. and that will be used to access the Marcellus Shale in New York if Marcellus wells are drilled. the chemicals used have changed over time. just horizontal drilling.3 million gallons of water is the average in a Marcellus well in the Susquehanna River Basin of Pennsylvania.4 Modern methods of hydraulic fracturing evolved in the 1960’s with the advent of water-based gels that were used to carry proppant into fractures. Some directional wells have even been angled beyond horizontal. If a source rock does not have abundant natural pore space or fractures. It is the combination of tight source rock with the application of unconventional drilling technology (just hydraulic fracturing. In the past. squeeze-cement. The amount of water and chemicals used in a horizontal well that is hydraulically fractured is greatly increased (by up to 100-fold) over vertical wells that are hydraulically fractured. Unconventional and Conventional Well Drilling – A Matter of Scale Vertical well operations differ from horizontal well drilling operations in scale. the explosive nitroglycerin was used. they have included acid. such tight source rocks are artificially cracked or fractured. Beginning in the 1860’s.000 gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing.000 gallons of water is considered a “high-volume” well. It can also be used to increase the gas flow rate of vertical wells damaged by the buildup of scale (the accumulation of minerals in pipes and other equipment) or other materials. Surfactants and crosslinkers (chemical additives) were added to adjust the viscosity of the fluid in an attempt to optimize the amount of . and a variety of gelled fossil fuels. the oil or gas may not be able to migrate from its source rock into a reservoir rock from which it can be easily extracted. Adding proppants to the fracture fluid led to further experimentation with fluid viscosity. and 2) the creation of pathways for the natural gas to flow out of the source rock and into the well. To get around this problem. Either the gas resource itself or the technologies used to extract the gas can be referred to as unconventional. various fracturing fluids have been used to fracture rocks by hydrostatic pressure. Proppants are natural or manufactured (e. Hydraulic fracturing not used solely to increase connectivity of pore spaces in the rock to the well bore.

After the wiper plug is inserted. the combination of these different methods created what is called high volume.5 million versus 80 thousand gallons. called the conductor pipe. Casings also prevent drilling fluids and gas from escaping through the sides of the well. Drilling a Well Drilling a well to extract natural gas from the ground may sound simple but it is not. easy to extract resource scattered throughout rock. about 4. all gas well drilling requires a long series of usually complex steps. clean the inside walls of the casing. It also prevents exchange of fluids between the well and nearby shallow water and gas reserves and provides a path for drilling muds. a vertical well is drilled with a horizontal leg (or lateral) that runs parallel to the rock being drilled. and a spring-like centralizer positions the casing in the center of the well hole. or crack.5 Marcellus wells are drilled and cased in multiple stages. Steel casing is inserted into the drilled hole. and then the well is drilled deeper with a slightly smaller drill bit. hard to extract proppant carried into the fractures and the speed at which they were transported. Before any drilling takes place. High-volume. When it reaches the bottom of the hole. horizontal hydraulic fracturing. the rock than wells that only bore vertically. a wiper plug is inserted behind the wet cement to force the cement out of the well bore. Then another. average 4 million gallons viscosity. and be large enough to support all of the equipment needed to drill and hydraulically fracture a well. slimmer casing is hung in the deeper well hole and cemented in place. This classification system was designed to address quality concerns such as poor raw ingredients. referred to as the “kickoff point. Its primary job is to prevent the collapse of the top of the well. drilling muds (substances that lubricate the drill bit and make drilling easier and faster)are pumped into the well to continue to force the cement into lining the outside of the casing wall.000 gallons Unconventional Drilling horizontal 3 to 6 acres 5. 1: A Comparison between Conventional and Unconventional Drilling Table Well type Well pad footprint Road Construction Footprint Water required Chemicals required Time to drill well Hydraulic fracturing required Source rock Conventional Drilling vertical >1 acre to 3 acres Similar to unconventional drilling 20. thus increasing the speed at which it travels in the well.” To turn a well fully horizontal takes around 1000 vertical feet of drilling. the area called the annulus. the well pad must be established. Blowout preventers (valves that help regulate erratic pressure changes that can be found while drilling) are attached to this level of casing.000 to 80. hydraulically fractured or not. Wells that travel horizontally through a gas-bearing layer require a higher volume of water to fracture. it flows out and back up the space between the casing and the drilled well. In the case of horizontal wells.5 Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 / 3 . Eight types of cement are classified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) for use in well casings. In this technology. Eventually. and the cement chosen is commonly mixed with cement additives that modify its setting time and density.4 Guiding shoes on the ends of the casing help the lengths of casing move down the well safely. As the well is being drilled. The cement is pumped down the well inside the casing. and separate the cement from additional drilling muds. For information on the chemicals used in Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing operations. respectively. which is currently used in the Marcellus Shale and other tight shale gas plays (the area in under development by natural gas operators).7 acres ~ 1 month sometimes ~ 3 months almost always large pocket of resource. has the largest diameter. The term slickwater refers to the combination of chemicals added to the fracturing fluid to modify its 2 to 9 million gallons. a special drill bit is used to turn the drill at an angle at a predetermined depth. To ensure that the cement in the casing is pushed fully into the annulus. it is lined with steel casing in order to prevent collapse of the hole. cemented in place. horizontal hydraulic fracturing is so named because it differs from other drilling methods in a few important ways. Vertical or horizontal. please see Marcellus Shale Issue 7: Water – Into the Wells. slickwater. The first piece of casing. This process is called a casing program.

These tests. Laterals in shale gas wells have drilled in the U.Surface casing is the next level of casing. which are essentially armor-piercing bullets. assess whether the newly drilled well was drilled and cased correctly.” on the well. horizonHorizontal drilling in and of itself tal fracturing used in the Marcellus is not highly controversial. The directions in which the but the source rock was damaged laterals extend from the vertical part during drilling. please hydraulic fracturing treatments. The chemicals are produced as the well is drilled) the fracture process by doing things that must be disposed of from a like keeping the fractures free of horizontal well compared to a vertibacteria and transporting the sand cal well. After the well has been completed. but they all function in a similar way. like areas of unusually high pressure (due to shallow gas pockets). greater than for vertical wells. received the first are drilled in this direction. lowering permeabilof the well bore are determined as ity near the well. they are drilled by larger high pressure to fracture the rock pieces of equipment. Its job is similar to the conductor pipe. specifically The Horizontal Drilling Process the high volume. The direction and length of the Unconventional Natural Gas lateral (horizontal part of the well) Extraction depends on the local geology. To learn impact of drilling – can be much more about the chemicals required 4 / Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 . It also monitors production and holds the regulating blowout valve that is designed to control erratic pressures in the well and to seal the well in an emergency. a device known as a Christmas Tree is placed on the top of the well at the surface. is added to mitigate potential problems at greater depths. In the Marcellus. have become com.000 feet in length. Because Shale.laterals in the Marcellus as the limits cally. which is mixed with a variety chips and finer particles of rock that of chemicals and sand. horizontal well is in the development called proppant hold open the fracphase – and therefore the total local tures created by this process.S. During this process. unconventional reservoirs. and the available technolthan 50% of oil and gas wells ever ogy. which generates requires about 4. Because casing lines the entirety of the well. Once in position. but companies many turn out to have little or no oil are expected to increase the length of or gas that can be extracted economi. gas extract more resources from those companies are directionally drilling conventional wells in a second or laterals in the north-northwest and third drilling attempt. which is typically 8 5/8 inches in diameter. These holes are created by perforation guns (perf guns) that are positioned in the lateral part of the well with a wire line or drill pipe and guiding wheels. the technology. it must have holes punctured into it in order for natural gas to have a pathway into the well. This is because 5. slickwater. the perf gun shoots small projectiles (called shaped charges).commonly been around 4. And the length of time a grains. Fewer driller. known as secondary or more information on why laterals tertiary recovery. recovering fossil fuels in impermeable. the Fossil fuel extraction by convenamount of land available to the tional means is very costly. refer to our pamphlet Marcellus Shale Later. directly into the casing. or were otherwise a result of analysis of the current less prolific than originally thought. tested. Some of them are truly ‘dry of the technology are more widely holes’ while others have oil or gas. These fractures to drill. combined with Issue 5: Jointing and Fracturing in the horizontal drilling. It is run through the length of the well that will be producing natural gas. and is commonly around 13 ¾ inches in diameter. take more time adjacent to the well. is the process of forcing liquid horizontal wells are so much longer. The last casing to be inserted into the well is thinnest in diameter (between 2-4 inches) and is called the production casing. There are many varieties of perf guns. commonly called “shut ins.000 to mercially successful. The Hydraulic Fracturing Process Hydraulic fracturing.5 million gallons of more cuttings (a mixture of coarse water. it prevents contamination of groundwater by drilling muds and keeps sediment from caving into the well. which usually last 72 hours.6 For niques. Hydraulically fracturing a far greater amount of rock must be horizontal well in the Marcellus Shale drilled through. the gas company runs a series of pressure tests. After these tests. a well bore. into the gas-bearing rock unit under however. and require more hydraulic form pathways for the natural gas fracturing fluid to be stimulated trapped in the rock to escape via the successfully. became useful for Marcellus Shale. Intermediate casing. These charges punch through the steel casing and cement-filled annulus. Various-sized sand grains. underground stresses and the preNew drilling techniques were dicted effects of existing and stimuoriginally developed in an effort to lated fractures. These techsouth-southeast directions. This device allows gas to be pumped into production pipelines.

guided by a springlike ‘guiding shoe’ that positions the casing in the center of the hole. casing. It flows to the bottom of the hole and begins to infill the annulus.. At this point the drill is lubricated with. The cement is allowed to dry. Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 / 5 .. 7) The process of drilling. wiper plugs are inserted into the casing to wipe the inside clean of wet cement. A drill is re-inserted into the well where it drills through a layer of cement and into deeper rock.Figure 1: Drilling and Casing a Well Drill Casing Centralizer Cement Casing Annulus Drill Hole 1 Drilling Muds Cement Wiper Plug 4 Guide Shoe 2 3 Empty Well Hole Cement 5 New Drill Hole 6 First Casing Cemented Casings Second Casing Third Casing Production Casing 7 The process of drilling and casing vertical and horizontal wells is the same in the initial drilling depths. a steel casing is inserted into the hole. 2) After the initial hole is drilled. 4) When enough cement has been poured into the well to line the casing. 1) The drill initially bores into the ground. 5 & 6)The new well hole is now the only void space in the well. the horizontal portion will undergo small blasts to puncture the steel and allow fracture fluid out and natural gas in). The plugs are pushed down by drilling muds. and cementing the casing is repeated with thinner and thinner casings that are intended to prevent any exchange between fluid flowing through the well and surrounding groundwater sources.’ 3) Cement is poured into the casing from the surface.and the drill hole is empty. The space between the casing and the rock on the outside of the hole is called the ‘annulus. which are later used to lubricate the drill bit. The production casing lines the length of the well and is intended to be porous in the region where natural gas is to be extracted (in this diagram.

the well is flushed out to remove the excess fracturing fluid from the well. only around 9-35% of the fracturing fluids return to the surface. although sometimes acidic or basic fluid precedes the fracturing fluid to break down natural cements in the rock or to mitigate buildup of mineral deposits. In very small spaces the molecular attraction between water molecules and the molecules in the shale fractures can be stronger than other pressures acting on the water.e. a portion of the well or the whole well may be hydraulically fractured again. Should a portion of the well become damaged or if the well performs beneath the expectations of the company. It has been common for a multi-stage fracture to have three or four sections of fracturing. It takes time to develop the information on each region.9 The characteristics of the target formation (the rock from which gas is being extracted) determine what specific techniques will be used to extract gas. 7.000 feet in length. the initial fractures are elongated and the proppants are forced into the fractures to hold them open after the pressure from hydraulic fracturing is released. This holds the fracturing fluid in the fractures and is referred to as capillary action. only a small portion of the fracturing fluid is returned to the surface during when the well is flushed out to remove excess fluid. and so on until the full lateral length of the well has been fractured. During this phase. see our pamphlet Marcellus Shale Issue 7: Water: Into the Wells. impermeable formation and stored permanently. production. A multi-staged hydraulic fracture of a well is typically considered one hydraulic fracturing event. The stresses on the rock at the depth of gas extraction and the rock permeability help determine what fluid and propping agent characteristics are needed to fracture wells most effectively. creating fractures near the well bore. is injected into the well. more fracturing fluid is mixed with proppants and injected into the well. but are costlier to create. and are usually used in research wells to initially characterize a region being drilled in order to design the fracturing process for that region. These techniques can be very expensive.000 to 5. and naturally-occurring radioactive material found in the gas-bearing unit. tiny fractures due to a combination of capillary action and the swelling of clays. see our pamphlet Marcellus Shale Issue 8: Water: Out of the Wells. Options for wastewater currently include: deep fluid injection wells. where contaminated water is injected into a deep. slickwater hydraulic fracturing. and a portion of this fracturing fluid is returned to the surface. and video image logging) to supply information on fractures immediately near the well 6 / Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 bore. For these reasons. It is currently unclear how many times a well will be hydraulically fractured in the Marcellus Shale. this flowback water can also contain a variety of heavy metals. a process called multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.in high volume. The actual process of fracturing occurs in three phases. treating. More.7 Second. and disposing of contaminated flowback fluids has become an important issue in the Marcellus Shale. swell. . Finally. Then the process is repeated with the next section. salts. Data must be collected for every new region and formation that is developed for gas drilling. handling. so could the number of stages in the full hydraulic fracture of a well. To what extent this will occur is not yet known. temperature. the well is hydraulically fractured section by section. geologists think that some of the fracturing fluid is absorbed by clay at depth. Because the horizontal portion of a Marcellus well is typically 4. consisting of water and chemicals. Clay can also “trap” the fracturing fluids because clay grains can absorb water. To learn more about wastewater treatment options. and then closed off from the remainder of the well. and modeling. as most wells in the Marcellus region are less than a few years old. but eventually the engineers in charge of each well use the data to establish the optimum fracture treatment for each well.8.1 Hydraulically fracturing horizontal wells requires a large quantity of water mixed with a variety of chemicals ranging from benign to toxic. geologists and engineers hypothesize that the remaining 70-90% of fracturing fluid is trapped in the multiple. The section farthest away from the vertical part of the well is fractured first. Because many of the inorganic sediments that make up the Marcellus Shale are clay grains.1 The effectiveness of a hydraulic fracture treatment can be measured using a combination of microseismic mapping in the field and measurements taken in the well (i. disposing in a wastewater treatment facility designed for flowback fluids. but as lateral lengths of the wells increase.5 In the Marcellus Shale. larger fractures yield more natural gas produced from the unit. Because of this. First fracturing fluid.2 While the fate of the fracturing fluid that remains underground after the Marcellus Shale is fractured is not yet fully understood. In addition to the chemicals used by the drilling industry. and decrease permeability. or onsite water treatment and recycling for additional hydraulic fracturing jobs by the industry.

These stations connect to larger pipelines owned by pipeline companies who distribute and sell natural gas to utilities. However. of Marcellus Shale gas wells can be more accurately estimated. it is collected by gathering lines which feed into compressor stations and metering sites.5 Some of the first Marcellus wells that have been producing since 2004 in West Virginia currently show decline curves that suggest a given well will be profitable for around 20-25 years. and from Canada in the north. All gas wells produce the highest flow rates of natural gas in the first weeks of production. processed. the gas must be processed in the field before being sold to the pipeline industry. with some LNG being imported in the NE and the rest imported through the G Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 / 7 . US LNG Terminals Existing Under Construction Permitted Note: pipeline systems in certain regions omitted for clarity. natural gas is extracted. The majority of natural gas is transported to the Northeast region of the U.7 If the gas being extracted from the Marcellus Shale is nearly free of impurities. at this stage in Marcellus Shale gas development. or if the gas contains corrosive gases (like carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide).5 Once the gas is of a high enough quality to be sold to the pipeline for final processing and sale on the market. it is called a stripper well. it is hard to estimate when they will no longer be economically viable. Because no wells in the Marcellus Shale have been producing for an extended period of time. and sold for profit. When a well is producing at rates so low it is barely profitable.Natural Gas Extraction and Transport: What happens when the gas leaves the well Once a Marcellus Shale natural gas well has been successfully drilled. transported to a final gas processing plant and placed on the market. with each month analysts gather more data. It is hard to predict. and is usually transported from Texas and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. If there is a high level of water or hydrocarbon liquids in the gas. and the predicted rate of decline.S.S. it can be immediately sold by the gas industry to the pipeline industry. because of heating demands and high population densities. Variously-colored grey lines represent pipeline systems that transport natural gas to recipients. and this rate declines over time as the pressure in the gas-bearing unit declines. Figure 2: Highlighted Major Pipeline Infrastructure in the U. the accuracy of that time frame. frequently called the decline curve. It is estimated that Marcellus Shale wells will produce economically valuable quantities of natural gas for at least 30 years. Note that pipelines can only transport natural gas in one direction.

processing. Finally. but migrates out of this rock than when pushing water through a unit toward areas of lower pressure. there Certainly. Propane. This holds the fracturing fluid in the fractures and propane is based on the physical is referred to as capillary action. A few companies amount of land altered by drilling in gas to its intended market is complex are experimenting with the technolthe region. within. liqand faster uid propane is also a less dense liquid Fish hook drilling: Wells that have been angled beyond horizontal. Because propane has about ten times Conductor Pipe: The first piece of casing inserted into the well with the less surface tension than water. and the intellectual pers in this series and socio-political gas extractable from an unconvenGlossary tional unit using propane to hydrauAnnulus: The space between the casing and the drilled well. face tension is defined as the ability Casing Program: The multiple stages used to drill and case a well are colof a liquid to resist an external force. and have than water. cal wells instead of horizontal wells. Surwell hole. newer technologies are also being de.8. the idea behind molecules and the molecules in the shale fractures can be stronger than other hydraulically fracturing a well with pressures acting on the water. but they also increases the potential for explosions bring forth a new set of environmenand fire. tional forces associated with pushing Conventional: A conventional gas resource is usually one in which the gas propane through a well are far lower forms in a specific rock unit. Finally. and no hydraulic fracturing fracturing with propane to occur. fewer chemical additives than a result. Gathering lines that connect wells to pipeline companies are not regulated under FERC and PHMSA. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). As water. The extraction. The initial cost of propane traffic than is currently seen hauling is also much higher than water. Capillary action: In very small spaces the molecular attraction between water In principle. itself. wastewater issues. Early draulic fracturing with propane is tions that are discussed in other patesting suggests that the quantity of not widespread. called a source rock. (molasses has a high viscosity while Drilling muds: Drilling muds lubricate the drill bit and make drilling easier water has a low viscosity).S. However. including less truck company. less viscous than water. hooked back upward in order to access particularly difficult-to-reach oil or gas There are a number of predictable 8 / Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 . these are regulated locally by a state’s Public Service Commission. itself. friclargest diameter. Instead. Cuttings: A mixture of coarse chips and finer particles of rock that are prowell. See Figure 2 fot existing US pipeline infrastructure. Compressing large quantithem the potential for more efficient ties of propane on a regular basis natural gas extraction. lically fracture a well is considerably Blowout preventer: A valve that helps regulate erratic pressure changes that more than with water-based hydraucan be found while drilling.10 Propane is also eight times duced as the well is drilled. advantages to hydraulic fracturing property rights belong only to one with propane. the process of hyrequired have environmental implicaformation with propane gas. Centralizer: A spring-like centralizer positions the casing in the center of the properties of the propane. financial The geological context of the Advances in Hydraulic Fracturing incentives may drive companies using Marcellus Shale plays an important Even as the technology associated propane to hydraulically fracture a role in the extraction of the unconwith unconventional gas drilling in well to drill more finely spaced verti.ventional natural gas resource stored the Marcellus Shale is being refined. it may take years for wideis used in water hydraulic fracturspread industrial use of hydraulic ing.Interstate pipeline companies transporting natural gas are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with help from the U. lectively called a casing program. as new technologies are also drawbacks to using liquid become available they bring with propane. The techniques ogy used to hydraulically fracture a Currently. lic fracturing technology.which could dramatically increase the and transportation of that natural veloped and tested. in larger quantities beyond existing production if it is to be directed to Summary Looking Ahead: More Technological hydraulic fracturing. is a fossil tal and other concerns that need to fuel that may need to be produced be considered. and actively evolving. Viscosity is a Directional drilling: A gas well that is not drilled vertically is drilled direcmeasure of a fluid’s internal friction tionally.

References 1. ceramic beads) sand grains that are used to hold open the fractures created during hydraulic fracturing. Unconventional: Refers to either the natural gas or the extraction process to retrieve the gas when the gas has not migrated from its source rock and requires a combination of drilling technologies to extract. July. Production Casing: This is run through the length of the well that will be producing natural gas.com/ 9.. http:// www. Surface Casing: The level of casing after the conductor pipe. (1997) “Influence of Loading Rate on Undrained Bearing Capacity of a Model Pile in Clay” proceedings of the Fourth Regional Conference on Geotechnical Engineering (GEOTROPIKA ‘97) . 8. Terry. I.net/programs/natural_gas_development_faq. 2011.pdf 5.com. pp. Wiper plug: The wiper plug is inserted behind the wet cement to force the cement out of the well bore. and production.doe. A. 357-370. findings. Johor Bahru. 857-889 7. exploration.htm. AAPG Bulletin.edu) or recommendations expressed in this New York State Water Resources Institute (wri.cce. 2009 Joint sets that enhance production from Middle and Upper Devonian gas shales of the Appalachian Basin. Well pad: The area at the surface. Any opinions. Marcellus Shale • Issue Number 6 • January 2012 / 9 . September 2011 3. http://www. Well bore: The hole the well makes under the surface. 7. Shoe: Guiding shoes on the ends of the casing help the lengths of casing move down the well safely. Proppant: Natural or manufactured (e. Susquehanna River Basin Commission.implications that are actively being studied by sociologists. 2001 6.srbc. Houghton unless otherwise attributed. no. David F. and separate the cement from additional drilling muds.Energy Information Administration April 1993. and Cornell University National Science Foundation. Tight: Source rock that does not have abundant natural pore space or fractures is considered tight.. Draft SGEIS on the Oil.gasfrac. Smrecak and the PRI Marcellus Shale Team Illustrations by J.g. Uzcategui. Department of Environmental Conservation. Target formation: The rock from which gas is being extracted. 4. Norman J. v.A Review of Horizontal Well Technology and its Domestic Application. Camp. June 2004 2. Cornell Cooperative Extension (naturalgas. Engelder. clean the inside walls of the casing. Department of Energy.cormaterial are those of the author(s) and nell. Robert F.edu). Frequently Asked Questions.1016359. trapped by a layer of rock the gas cannot penetrate. Morehouse. Authored by Trisha A. Intermediate Casing: This is typically 8 5/8 inches in diameter. and conclusions cornell. Horizontal drilling: A gas well that starts with a vertical well bore which is then angled until it is oriented horizontally. commonly around 13 ¾ inches in diameter. Hyne. and is added to mitigate potential problems at greater depths. Multi-stage hydraulic fracturing: A process by which a well is hydraulically fractured section by section. 2011. Source rock: A rock unit in which natural gas formed. 10. Nontechnical guide to petroleum geology. Personal communication. Reservoir: An area of low pressure underground where gas has collected. Al-Mhaidib. “Drilling Sideways-.gov/pub/oil_ gas/natural_gas/analysis_publications/ drilling_sideways_well_technology/pdf/ tr0565. Lash. Lateral: The horizontal portion of the well bore. PennWell Books. Gary G. drilling.. and Redescal S.” U. 93. Dresser.reference. pockets Gas play: The area in under development by natural gas operators. p.com/ (accessed 2011) Partnering Organizations include Funded by NSF GEO No. July 2009. surrounding the well bore that is used to conduct the drilling and hydraulic fracture activities. King. Dictionary.S. GasFrac Energy Services Inc. http://dictionary. 26 January 2011 Http://www. Conner O’Laughlin. and McKee. Scale: The accumulation of minerals in pipes and other equipment. Appendix A.eia. Department of Energy. Malaysia. Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program. Hydraulic Fracturing Whitepaper. Agricultural Experiment Station. Cornell University Department of Earth do not necessarily reflect the views of the and Atmospheric Sciences.