America’s shale deposits have an abundance of gas. Pennsylvania holds a large portion of the United State’s Marcellus Shale formations. According to the United States Geological Survey, Marcellus Shale is home to 84 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable natural gas. Unconventional oil and gas is important to the world’s energy scene, in which, Pennsylvania has an important role in the development of shale drilling in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing is the best known way to retrieve gas from shale formations.  To access the gas, fluids made of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the ground with rapid pressure to that exceeds the strength of the rock formation.  The pressure on the rock formation causes rock fractures and the fractures are propped open with the sand sediment. The chemicals inhibit corrosion of the equipment.  Chemicals and sand make-up less than 1% of the total fluid mix the other 99% is water.

Fracking is not new. In America, oil and gas producers have been using hydraulic fracturing techniques since at least the 1940s.  In the past, Hydraulic fracturing was used to enhance recoveries from older oil wells and access the oil in tight reservoirs. Shale gas in North America is more reliable and secure than the millions of barrels of oil that come from places like Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, Angola, and Algeria.  Accessing that gas is much less dangerous than many people think.

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