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Ulmer & Berne LLP Real Estate Advisor Law Blog: Marcellus Shale: The Next Gas and Oil Boom?

By Brad Kaplan

If you thought the earth beneath your feet was solid; think again.  Land owners and energy industry prospectors are busy in Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania looking for pockets of natural gas embedded in the Marcellus Shale buried deep beneath the surface.  Named for the town where it all started, Marcellus, New York, a once difficult shale to drill has been transformed by advances in drilling technologies making it possible to drill and capture the natural gas deposits hidden within.  A virtual natural gas rush has ensued and energy companies are leasing mineral and subsurface rights from land owners throughout the Marcellus Shale region.  

As we all know "there is no free lunch."  The technique used to force the natural gas out of the shale and up to the surface is called "fracking."  It is a process by which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the earth.  In the process, claims of contamination of the underground water resources are being raised.  Be vigilant and do not just sign the form lease the energy company presents to you.  Make sure you give attention to the potential damage and future costs the drilling can cause.  Everyone is entitled to benefit, including the environment !

You can read more from Brad Kaplan at the Real Estate Advisor Law Blog.