Research issues

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Research issues:



How much is an acre of Marcellus shale property worth? For example, an October, 2008 report mentioned that "QEC should hit a TARGET of $63.00/sh based on USA Shale Gas land valued at $35,000 per acre (Joseph Schachter) . (BNN-TV [ROB-TV)." Is $35,000/acre reasonable in light of present market conditions?

Environmental friendliness

Can hydro-fracturing be done in an environmentally friendly way. While there is much debate as to whether fracing fluids can cause water pollution, with most experts coming down on the side that any environmental impact is more or less negligible, are there steps that can be taken to reduce risk to the environment in drilling practices such as using green fracing fluids? Just the very fact that industry is investigating better practice helps to inspire confidence and trust in the entire drilling process, and to overcome environmental concerns.

Naturally occurring radioactive material

The City of New York has noted that naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) may pose a risk. In commenting on the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) the City noted that Marcellus and Utica shale drilling will produce cuttings and waste fluids that contain radiological contaminants (such as radon and uranium), low pH (acidic) water and dissolved metals (e.g., iron), and dissolved salts. The quantity of radioactive material likely to be produced as well as any potential health risks need to be assessed.

Note: Drill cuttings are generally shipped to land fills where radiation monitors measure radioactive contamination, if any.

Converting Marcellus shale gas to liquids

Technologies exist for converting natural gas to various liquids. Of course there is a cost to this conversion, yet, as of the Spring of 2010, there remained a significant differential between the price per BTU of oil versus that of natural gas, favoring the latter as more cost effective of the two fuels. This price spread suggested a successful business model could consist of converting gas to liquids such as methanol or diesel for use mainly as transportation fuels. What are the technology, business and economic issues involved in conversion?

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