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American Shale Plays

Americans have been harvesting oil and natural gas since 1821 when the first well was dug in Fredonia, New York. Since then its estimated that over 1.5 million oil & gas wells have been drilled across the United States in places like Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Here you will find information on more of the notable development regions in the county.

Though production has boomed in the last decade due to technological advancements opening up historically inaccessible reserves in shale rock layers, the overall operation remains the same: metal vs. rock.

What is Shale?

Shale is a fine-grain sedimentary rock, containing clay minerals, quartz, and organic material. Shale often absorbs and traps natural gas, methane, and crude oil in pores and fissures.

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Fresh water, treated with a friction-reducing gel, and sand are injected into a target formation through a deep well, unseating useful volumes of natural gas without disturbing the surface above it. Tightly controlled for safety, and environmental impact, the process has revitalized many slumping regional economies.

  • Marcellus
  • Barnett
  • Anadarko-Woodford
  • Eagle Ford
  • Utica Shale


Beginning in the Catskills of New York, the Marcellus Shale lies beneath much of Pennsylvania, spilling into parts of Ohio and West Virginia. In Pennsylvania alone, this large energy reserve has opened 100,000 new jobs, and resulted in more than $600 billion direct payments to landowners across the Keystone State. These bonuses enable farmers to buy new equipment, pay off debt, and continue providing for their families on the land which their family has enjoyed for generations. Yet there remains room for further development. For the Marcellus Shale to reach its full potential, we need ongoing cooperation between land owners, government, and energy companies. Read More


Advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have made the once passed-over Barnett Shale of Texas quite productive. Some estimates predict natural gas production near 900 billion cubic feet per year until 2030 resulting in more than 100,200 jobs since 2001. The Barnett Shale is a testament to the benefits of hydraulic fracturing. Despite most of the energy reserves lying under the population centers of Fort Worth, Barnett is second only to the San Juan Basin of New Mexico and Colorado in domestic production. Read More


Oklahoma production of crude oil, and natural gas stems almost exclusively from the Anadarko-Woodford shale. Local and state governments look favorably on shale development, inviting stiff competition. Production in the Anadarko-Woodford quadrupled from 2011-2012, and continues to increase. Much like the neighboring Barnett shale play, advancement in technology has made the once passed-over natural gas reserves accessible. Read More

Eagle Ford

When it comes to shale, some states have all the luck. Texas is home to not only the Barnett, but also the world’s largest shale play in terms of economic development, Eagle Ford. Located in South Texas. Eagle Ford is projected to net the region more than $89 billion in revenue and 127,000 jobs. The entire economic makeup of South Texas revolves around the jobs created in development of Eagle Ford. Many flash towns have sprung up across South Texas, reminiscent of the great westward expansion of the 19th century. Except this boom shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Read More

Utica Shale

The Utica Shale is organic-rich calcareous black shale that was deposited about 440 to 460 million years ago during the Late Ordovician. It overlies the Trenton Limestone and is located a few thousand feet below the Marcellus shale and is overall thicker than it’s shale counterpart. Utica Shale is more geographically extensive and has already proven its ability to yield commercial quantities of natural gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil. A majority of Utica development is currently taking place in eastern Ohio due to its wet gas prospects. Read More

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