Exploring Shale: The Quest For Natural Gas New drilling techniques make it possible to extract natural gas from deep shale rock formations. The advances mean the United States has more abundant natural gas resources than previously believed. Gas advocates say it could significantly alter the future U.S. energy picture, but environmental concerns over possible groundwater contamination still linger.
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Exploring Shale: The Quest For Natural Gas

A shale gas well bore is lined by steel pipe, shown here in 100-foot sections in Washington County, Pa., at the drill site of Range Resources. Between its vertical and horizontal sections, a well bore will extend 9,000 feet or longer and require more than a million pounds of steel. Tom Gjelten/NPR hide caption

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Tom Gjelten/NPR