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Friday, May 26, 2017

The father of Marcellus shale retires

I dedicated a chapter of Exceptional Americans: 50 People You Need To Know to George Phydias Mitchell, the wildcatter responsible for the development of hydraulic fracturing.

Those of us in the Alleghenies and Appalachia should thank Terry Engelder for making fracking important to our lives.

A geoscience professor at Penn State, he discovered the Marcellus shale formation. He retires next month.

His bio:
Terry Engelder, a leading authority on the recent Marcellus gas shale play, holds degrees from Penn State B.S. ('68), Yale M.S. ('72) and Texas A&M, Ph.D. ('73). He is currently a Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and has previously served on the staffs of the US Geological Survey, Texaco, and Columbia University.
Short-term academic appointments include those of Visiting Professor at Graz University in Austria and Visiting Professor at the University of Perugia in Italy. Other academic distinctions include a Fulbright Senior Fellowship in Australia, Penn State's Wilson Distinguished Teaching Award, membership in a US earth science delegation to visit the Soviet Union immediately following Nixon-Brezhnev detente, and the singular honor of helping Walter Alvarez collect the samples that led to the famous theory for dinosaur extinction by large meteorite impact.
He has written 150 research papers, many focused on Appalachia, and a book, the research monograph "Stress Regimes in the Lithosphere". In the international arena, he has worked on exploration and production problems with companies including Saudi Aramco, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Agip, and Petrobras.

From Marcellus Drilling News:
Penn State University professor Terry Engelder, the geologist who first discovered the potential of the Marcellus (and called “the Father of the Marcellus Shale”) is retiring from Penn State in June. The Marcellus Shale boom, while starting with a single Range Resources well in 2004, is largely due to the insights of Engelder. In 2007 he did some “back of the envelope” calculations that showed (first) there is roughly 50 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus. He later revised that number, to 489 Tcf. It was Engelder’s calculations that caught the interest and confidence of drillers who then decided to give the Marcellus a try.
I doubt he will go silently.

Bill Holland of SNL interviewed him. It's a good read, which ends:
Although he's been criticized for starting his own consulting firm, Appalachian Fracture Systems Inc., and selling his services to gas drillers, Engelder said he only took projects that interested him and created jobs for his graduate students.
In conversations that should come with footnotes because of the number of academic papers he quotes, he will quickly show that the Marcellus is hardly an overnight success. Its history begins as far back as the federal shale studies after the oil crisis of the early 1970s when an oil-dependent United States thrashed about for more resources to fuel its growing economy.
Or one might argue that it dates back to the 1950s when a teenager roamed the hills of Allegany County, picking up rocks to show the state geologist in town.
One man can make a difference, as we learned with Mitchell.

Two can make an even bigger one, as we learned with Engelder. Among the shoulders future geologists stand on are Engelder's.

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  1. Sadly, Soros-funded environmentalist groups like EarthJustice are ripping American taxpayers with the help of the EPA. Prearranged lawsuit settlements involving the EPA has cost the American taxpayer over $100 Million in recent years settling lawsuits that the public is not being told about. EarthJustice just sued to halt Trump's order to open federal lands to coal mining.

    Lots of money is being spent in WV to convince citizens that fracking the Marcellus shale is bad.

    1. gad, it that really you?? You're agreeing with Don!

  2. Fracking was begun in 1947, however it took the Canadian horizontal drilling technique mated with fracking to give us this oil/NG bonanza. Now we are exporting LNG world wide. Unfortunately, with only one documented pollution of water supplies, MD and NY are still prohibiting fracking's use. PA and Ohio are going full steam.

  3. Ought to help keep Ohio in the Red camp.

    I mean, who'd vote Blue and shut down a bonanza?