April 30, 2012 / 6:55 PM / 7 years ago

Pennsylvania drought subsides, natgas drilling resumes

NEW YORK, April 30 (Reuters) - The temporary suspensions on water withdrawal because of a drought in Pennsylvania that cut into one natural gas driller’s operations earlier this month were lifted late last week.

Water is an integral part of the gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission lifted its ban on water withdrawals on April 26 from basins where roughly a half dozen natural gas production companies draw water to use to drill for natural gas.

Talisman Energy had to suspend some drilling mid-month after the commission put the ban in place.

On Monday, the company said water withdrawal was no longer an issue.

“Our sites are no longer under passby flow conditions and withdrawal is permissible as required,” said Diane Gross, a Talisman spokeswoman in Pittsburgh.

In fracking, water is mixed with chemicals and flushed down and through a horizontal well at a high pressure to hold open cracks created in rocks, allowing gas particles to rise to the surface.

Pennsylvania has been a focal point for natural gas drilling in the United States. The state sits atop the Marcellus Shale, a large natural gas basin, and heavy production from that basin has aided recently in pushing natural gas prices to 10-year lows.

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