Albany, NY, Jan 03, 2012 — Experts say exploration of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is expected to keep rising in 2012. But they say landowners may find that signing lease deals isn't as easy as in years past.
Drillers have swarmed in recent years to the Shale that lies beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio. Pennsylvania is the center of activity, with more than 3,000 wells drilled in the past three years and thousands more planned.
Other states are opening up to the drilling, which often entails hydrofracking. That's when drillers drill down, and then horizontally into the bedrock. They use a mix of water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure to smash open the shale and release the gas.
New York has delayed issuing regulations to allow large scale hydrofracking.
Jerry Simmons is executive director of National Association of Royalty Owners. The group represents landowners who sell their mineral rights to energy companies. He says New York property owners would already get less for a well then their neighbors in Pennsylvania did a few years ago.