If the Marcellus Shale were a target, the bull's-eye would encompass northern Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier.

Companies seeking the multibillion-dollar promise of domestic natural gas production have begun bearing down on the Pennsylvania part of that bull's-eye. According to data filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection, there were 191 wells drilled in Susquehanna, Bradford and Tioga counties in 2009.

Not surprisingly, they have found one of the thickest and most geologically promising Marcellus section, living up to its expectation.

All indications are that drilling will accelerate in 2010 in Pennsylvania. By the end of last year, the state DEP issued permits for 787 gas wells in the three counties bordering the Southern Tier.

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