The Marcellus Shale is a Middle Devonian-age black, low density, carbonaceous (organic rich) shale that occurs in the subsurface beneath much of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. In 2003, Range Resources, arguably the industry player attributed with starting the Marcellus Shale gas play, drilled a Marcellus well in Washington County, Pennsylvania and found a promising flow of natural gas. They experimented with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods, which worked well in the Barnett Shale of Texas, and brought their first Marcellus gas well to production in 2005.
A few years later, more than 375 gas wells targeting Marcellus had been permitted in Pennsylvania. The presence of an enormous volume of potentially recoverable gas in the eastern United States has great economic significance. This is some of the closest natural gas to the high population areas of New Jersey, New York and New England. This location gives Marcellus gas a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
Currently, the Marcellus Shale continues to be actively developed and is the gift that keeps on giving. The evolution of longer laterals, enhanced completion techniques, and optimum well spacing has allowed us to weather natural gas price volatility and generate healthy financial returns for the company. We have now drilled over 1,000 wells and we continue to find ways to add inventory and value to this asset.