Friday, June 17, 2011

Drill Rigs Hug the PA-NY State Line:
But the Earth Knows No Difference

To me, this is a remarkable picture.
It's the red-dotted Northern Tier of counties in Pennsylvania, brushing up against the vacant blankness of the Southern Tier counties in New York. 

Yes, yes, my hometown is there someplace — in northern Broome Co., NY, with Interstate 81 running right through it.

But — more to the point — what this picture shows is the locations of every single actively drilling rotary rig in a key part of northeastern Appalachia for the week ending June 17, 2011 — as reported on this particular Friday (and on every Friday, around noonish) by Baker Hughes, the well-known oilfield services contractor.

Notice that there's nothing going on north of the state line between PA and NY?

And notice, furthermore, that there are no drilling rigs at work beyond the jagged watershed divide between the more westerly situated Susquehanna River, and the more easterly Delaware?

Let us be clear:  So far as Marcellus shale gas is concerned, there is no line of relevant geological distinction here.  There is no significant line of demarkation between shale bed thickness, or pressure in pounds per square inch, or thermal maturities, or organic content, or any of that complicated geological stuff.

In fact, there is perfectly good methane to be produced on either side of these lines between PA and NY, and between the Mighty Susquehanna and the Mighty Delaware.

There are jobs to be had on either side of those lines.  There are deals to be negotiated.  Leases to be signed.  Bonuses to be collected.  Royalty income to be reported.  Taxes to be paid.  Work to be done — already. 

It makes no difference — it matters not.

There is, in fact, no difference between one side or the other of these lines — except for this:  

Human institutions.  





That's all there is. 

The Earth knows no difference.

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