Natural Gas and the Marcellus Shale

This homework problem introduces students to Marcellus shale natural gas and how an unconventional reservoir rock can become an attractive hydrocarbon target. It is designed to expand students' understanding of hydrocarbon resources by introducing an unconventional natural gas play. Students explore the technological factors that make conventional source rocks attractive reservoir rocks and how this advance impacts both U.S. energy supply and the environment.

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Sid Halsor
SERC - On the Cutting Edge Collection

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Easily adaptable assignment for any introductory geology or environmental geology course.

It would be interesting to include a comparison of CO2 generated from natural gas per unit of energy produced to the CO2 generated by coal per unit of energy produced. Natural gas has lower emissions than coal, and it would be helpful to point this out in the exercise.

Activity is very regionally specific - educator might want to make it less regionally specific.

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