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Eastern Shale Plays--A Game Plan For Success

Nicolle R. Snyder Bagnell, Stephanie L. Hadgkiss, Proceedings of 55th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2009)

Although natural gas development in the United States first began in the eastern part of the country in the mid-1800s, the law and regulation of natural gas drilling has not developed at the same pace there as it has in the southwestern oil and gas states. Recent interest in eastern shale plays, in particular the Marcellus Shale, which covers an estimated 95,000 square miles in the Appalachian region and has the potential for more than 250 trillion cubic feet of recoverable resources, has brought another boom to this region. This boom includes not only new wells, but also new permitting issues, new interest in taxing these assets, new pipelines, and new disputes between landowners, royalty owners, and producers. This chapter will focus on identifying the major challenges in exploring for and producing natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, with an eye towards pinpointing regulatory and legal areas ripe for change in response to this new development.
§ 32.02 A Brief History of Natural Gas Production in the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian region is regarded as the birthplace of the oil and gas industry in the United States. In 1859, Colonel Edwin Drake drilled the first successful oil well in Pennsylvania2 to a depth of 70 feet. Over the past hundred years, Appalachia has experienced swings in prominence as a major gas-producing region. During the early part of the twen