Forcing Gas Out of Rock With Water
By combining and super-charging old oil industry technologies, the energy industry unlocked the natural gas locked in shale rock
Harlan Shober remembers how cars lined Hickory Ridge Road in the spring of 2008 with curiosity-seekers hoping for a glimpse of the first Marcellus shale gas flare in Chartiers Township, Pennsylvania.
“I live on an opposite hill, where I could see the top of the flare, and my house was rumbling, it was that loud,” recalls Shober, president of the township board of supervisors. “It was overcast, and the flame would bounce up against the clouds. You could see the glow from Pittsburgh,” 25 miles away.
The eerie sight heralded the arrival of a new phase of life in this rural community of 7,200 people—one of the hottest spots in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale boom, with more than 40 natural gas wells drilled