Friday, April 28, 2017

Penn State Geologist Terry Engelder Who Calculated Marcellus Gas Reserves To Retire

Penn State University Geologist Terry Engelder, who is credited with calculating some of the first estimates of natural gas contained in the Marcellus Shale fields covering the six northeast U.S. states in 2007-- 489 trillion cubic feet, about 18 years’ worth of total U.S. gas consumption, is retiring.
“The calculation that I did was based on very little data and a whole heck of a lot of insight. And maybe you could argue that bubble gum and some rubber bands held it together but it worked,” said Engelder. “That was the firm number that allowed a lot of people who spent money on this to move forward. That particular calculation was by far the highlight of my career.”
Engelder said people recognized that vast reserves of gas were in the Marcellus Shale, but most thought they were inaccessible. But when fundamental changes in technology, through hydrofracturing, or fracking, showed promise in areas such as Texas, Engelder applied that technology to his calculation.
The result led to a natural gas boom that — for the first time in decades — allowed the nation to extract more natural gas than it used. It also led to a boom in jobs for the region and hundreds of millions of dollars in lease bonuses flowed into the region.
“In terms of satisfaction, very few scientists can say that they did something that affected a lot of people in the state and the nation in such a palpable way,” said Engelder. “The amount of money that was spent in Pennsylvania, particularly off of the excitement generated by that initial projection, was rather remarkable.”
That projection thrust Engelder into the spotlight, as well. He’s been interviewed by nearly 600 reporters worldwide. He’s been cited by Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” alongside Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
He’s served on commissions advocating for the safe extraction of natural gas for former Gov. Tom Corbett and current Gov. Tom Wolf.
Engelder said despite losing valuable research time during those years of intense public interest in his expertise, he doesn’t regret the countless hours he’s spent educating the public and advocating for U.S. energy sustainability.
“There are a number of ways that science manifests itself,” said Engelder. “One way is writing peer-reviewed papers. Another is serving as a liaison between science and the public, and very few scientists have the opportunity for such intense interaction with the public.”
The Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania began in 2003 after Range Resources drilled its first exploratory well in Washington County.
Penn State Geologist Who Calculated Marcellus Gas Reserves To Retire

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