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Marcellus Shale drilling: 'Not ideal' here

YATES, SCHUYLER COUNTIES—Cornell University professor Tony Ingraffea said drilling for Marcellus Shale in Yates and Schuyler Counties is not ideal because the formation is so shallow here.  More drilling will take place closer to the Pennsylvania border.
There are currently 1,342 signed gas leases in Yates County, from 2005 to 2009.  Colby Peterson, Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District technician, said the leases make up 20 percent, or 44,076 acres, of the acres in Yates County.
He explained that number does not include any still signed leases from before 2005, and does include any leases renewed in the five year time.  However, he said there should not be many duplicate leases in this way.
According to Lloyd Wetherbee, Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District technician, there are up to 50,000 acres leased in Schuyler, or 13 percent of the land in the county. Wetherbee said this equals between 1,600 to 1,700 leased parcels. However, he cautioned that the data is imperfect, and the numbers were calculated without doing “six months of work.” If the deed information for a lease holder listed multiple parcels, it was figured as one parcel.
That information was included in a presentation by Ingraffea, in Penn Yan and Watkins Glen, earlier in March.
Ingraffea said that to extract a significant amount of Marcellus Shale gas, at least one drilling pad per square mile will be required. He added up to 16 pads per square mile could be allowed. Ingraffea explained at least one billion gallons of water is used as part of the hydrofracking process. So 31,000 wells would require 31 billion gallons of water to be brought to the sites, and then taken elsewhere to be treated.
The exact number of acre to drilling pad ratio will be decided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in its drilling regulations. Until the DEC approves the regulations it is currently reviewing comments on, companies cannot drill for natural gas in New York.

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