Drilled Unconventional Wells in PA by County and Year

Nothing rings out the old year quite like a nice data table. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a list of drilled unconventional wells in Pennsylvania, sorted both by county and year:

Drilled Unconventional Wells in PA: 2005 to 2012

This table is perhaps the most succinct way to summarize the eight years of unconventional drilling activity in Pennsylvania on a county by county basis, and in that regard, it stands as a useful reference.  But at FracTracker, we are always trying to ask, “What does it mean?  So here are a few points to take away from this table:

  • The last two columns show the changes from 2011 to 2012 in terms of raw count and percent change, respectively. Those counties showing a year to year reduction are highlighted with red text in these columns.
  • The number of unconventional wells drilled statewide in 2012 is the smallest total since 2009, and is down 31 percent from 2011 totals.
  • Some counties, such as Allegheny and Armstrong, are experiencing an expansion of activity from the industry, while others, such as Tioga and Bradford, are declining sharply.

Of course, we also like to look for spatial patterns at FracTracker. The results are not random:

Percent change of number of unconventional wells drilled by Pennsylvania county from 2011 to 2012. To access full controls, click the expanding arrows icon at the top right corner of the map.

Although reported oil and condensate production values are modest for unconventional wells in the state, the cluster of green counties (which show more wells drilled in 2012 than 2011) in southwestern PA occur in the area where the Marcellus Shale is considered to be wet gas. Counties in the northeastern portion of the state typically produce more natural gas than in other places, but it is generally dry gas. Clearly, the heavier hydrocarbons of the southwestern counties are more of interest for drillers in a year in which gas reserves have been well above average all year long.

5 replies
  1. Denise DeFelice
    Denise DeFelice says:

    This breaks my heart, I have always planned to retire in PA. Such a beautiful countryside with pristine waterways along the Delaware! What is happening now 2014? What about Pike county with all their lakes and the Delaware basin?

    • Sam Malone, MPH, CPH
      Sam Malone, MPH, CPH says:

      Hi Denise,

      You can find our most up to date maps and articles about Pennsylvania on this page. Additionally, this article might of particular interest to you. Let me know if you still have questions, however: 412-802-2073.

      Samantha Malone, MPH, CPH
      Manager of Science and Communications,
      FracTracker Alliance

  2. Karen Beatty
    Karen Beatty says:

    This depresses me to no end. I am sitting here look at holding back tears as I see the creeping monster cross our state. Stop before it is too late.

  3. Sylvester Deal
    Sylvester Deal says:

    Painting the counties without drilling a red hue would better indicate were development is occurring.
    Bedford, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Wayne

    • Matt Kelso
      Matt Kelso says:

      Thanks for the feedback Sylvester.

      This map shows the percent change in the number of drilled wells per county from 2011 to 2012. Values with “0” doesn’t mean that there was no drilling activity, just that there was no change in the number of drilled wells year to year. I do see what you are saying about the specified counties, but I included them on the shapefile because they have had some unconventional drilling activity in the past. Unfortunately, the online version of ArcGIS does not offer the same amount of control over the presentation as the desktop version yet.

      As a side note, the color classification seems to not be 100% stable. This was classified in four quantiles, meaning that the program should break the the counties up into roughly four equal groups. However, when I loaded the page this morning, there were a lot more green counties than there were yesterday. This is because the computer calculated one category to end at “0” while another one begins at that mark, which had the effect of shifting several counties from light pink to green.

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