PSU Professor to Speak on Utica Shale

The Potter County Natural Gas Resource Center has arranged for an award-winning geoscientist as guest speaker for its next meeting. Dr. Terry Engelder’s presentation, “Utica Shale: Digging Deeper,” is especially timely, with large Utica Shale drilling projects on the drawing board in at least three sections of Potter County and in other parts of Pennsylvania. Marcellus Shale has been in the headlines for the past several years, but industry leaders say the Utica layer that’s beneath it -- more than two miles underground -- could be where the more intense local gas production takes place.

Dr. Engelder will speak at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 17, at the Gunzburger Building on Main Street in Coudersport. “There are many things we do not know about the Utica Shale, but there are signs that it’s going to be a very productive source of natural gas in our region, so the more we know, the better prepared we can be,” said Natural Gas Resource Center Director Bob Veilleux.

Engelder is a geosciences professor at Penn State who was forecasting the national shale gas boom far ahead of his peers. His early declaration that shale gas will be “a historic game-changer in terms of America's energy portfolio" was initially met with skepticism. But the rest is history, even though it has been written in less than a decade. Dr. Engelder is a native of Wellsville, N.Y. He joined Penn State in 1985. Six major international energy companies subsidized some of the research he and his Penn State students conducted into hydrofracturing and shale production. His focus remains on science, but he has some personal opinions that he’ll share if asked. Engelder sees shale gas as an opportunity to sever U.S. dependence on foreign oil and produce cleaner energy. “We’ve enjoyed the energy from other places in the United States or other places in the world and, basically, it's our turn,” Engelder said. Veilleux said Dr. Engelder will leave time at the end of his presentation for questions from the audience.

Jim Clark, local Extension Educator and advisory board member for the Natural Gas Resource Center in Potter County, said, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Engelder agree to speak in Coudersport. He is very busy man and presents lectures in many places around the country. This is a great educational opportunity for local residents.”

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