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In 2009, the Marcellus Shale achieved critical mass—advancing from a frontier niche of US independents to the world’s leading onshore natural gas play. This transformation is the end product of US majors’ assessments of the lucrative potential of the Marcellus Basin matched to the need of some of the independents to firm up their financial resources in the face of falling natural gas prices. High initial production rates and rapid, high-priced leasing activity have also attracted the attention of local, state and federal authorities seeking tax revenues and the opportunity to make political gains as the guardians of the environment and drinking water.
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