Factors Influencing the Location of Gathering Pipelines in Utica and Marcellus Shale Gas Development
Shanon Donnelly

The extraction of natural gas from shale plays, such as the Marcellus and Utica in the Eastern United States, is forecast to continue to grow in the coming decades. Infrastructure in these areas must be located in rural but populated areas that are naturally forested and are predominantly in private ownership. Land change from gathering pipelines is greater in extent than the combined land-change impact of other development-related features and persists for long time periods. The route of these pipelines must be negotiated on a household-by-household basis across the landscape and is not well understood. This research uses GIS to quantitatively assess the role of ownership patterns, topography, roads, and existing land cover in the location of gathering pipelines in two study areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania using GIS and spatial analysis methods. Results show that the pattern of land ownership has a strong influence on gathering pipeline location in both the Ohio and Pennsylvania study areas with pipelines frequently located near parcel boundaries. Roads, topography, and existing land cover have identifiable but weaker influence on the location of gathering pipelines. These results are important for future efforts at modeling and mitigating land change impacts from shale gas development.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jges.v6n1a1