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NY gas lawyer: Drilling unlikely before late 2013

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm •  Published: December 5, 2012

Mike Atchie, a spokesman for Chesapeake Energy, said shale gas development brings business to companies involved in engineering, welding, road building, landscaping, fencing, trucking, aerial mapping and excavation, as well as suppliers of cement, sand, pumps, compressors, electrical equipment and solar panels.

Chris Iversen, president of Iversen Construction Corp. in Ontario County, asked if the work would be long-lasting or if there would be a boom-and-bust cycle. Energy companies moved much of their activity from Pennsylvania to Ohio and other areas this year in search of higher-priced "wet gas," which includes petroleum products not found in the "dry gas" of the Marcellus region.

"We plan to be in this area long-term," Atchie said. "Our time frame for drilling in the Marcellus will be decades."

Shale gas development requires high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of horizontally drilled wells thousands of feet deep. A high volume of chemically treated water mixed with sand is injected into wells to break up the underground shale and release the gas. Regulators and the industry say the method is safe when done according to state rules, but environmental groups and some scientists say not enough research has been done on air and water contamination or other health and environmental issues.

The DEC says it has addressed health concerns in its own study that outside experts are reviewing, but the agency has refused to publicly release any information about that study.