Allegheny County: A Challenged Gas Super-Giant

Massive resource potential development in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has to jump many hurdles—and it may not have the running room to succeed.

Gregory Wrightstone And Justin Skaggs, Special To Hart Energy

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania sits atop vast reserves of natural gas, enough to qualify it as a super-giant gas field. But various factors, including high population density, have conspired to place most of these reserves off-limits to full development. Allegheny and two adjoining counties, Washington and Greene, are situated within the “core of the core” of the recently named Appalachian Mega-Giant Gas Field. Each county has recoverable natural gas reserves likely ranking them at or near the highest county natural gas reserve base in the nation.

As the second-most populous county in the state and home to Pittsburgh, Allegheny County presents unique challenges to full development of the resources. By a quirk of nature, these three counties lie atop some of the best shale reservoir rock in the world in the Marcellus, Utica and the lesser-known Upper Devonian Burket/Geneseo Shale.

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