Data transparency is a major issue in the oil and gas world. Some states in the U.S. do not make the location or other details associated with wells easy to find. If one is looking for Pennsylvania data, however, the basic datasets are quite accessible. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) maintains several datasets on unconventional drilling activity in the Commonwealth and provides this information online and free of charge to the public. The following databases are ones that we commonly use to update our maps and perform data analyses:
Below are tips for how to search the PA DEP’s records and download datasets if you would like:
Date ranges must be entered in these databases in order to narrow down the search. We suggest starting with 1/1/2000 through current if you would like to see all unconventional activity to date.
County, Municipality, Region, and Operator
This criteria can be further refined by selecting particular counties, regions, etc.
For all datasets, “Unconventional Only – Yes” should be selected if you are only interested in the wells that have been drilled into unconventional shale formations and hydraulically fractured, or “fracked.”
“Unconventional” definitions according to PA Code, Chapter 78:
Unconventional well — A bore hole drilled or being drilled for the purpose of or to be used for the production of natural gas from an unconventional formation.
Unconventional formation — A geological shale formation existing below the base of the Elk Sandstone or its geologic equivalent stratigraphic interval where natural gas generally cannot be produced at economic flow rates or in economic volumes except by vertical or horizontal well bores stimulated by hydraulic fracture treatments or by using multilateral well bores or other techniques to expose more of the formation to the well bore.
Once search criteria have been defined, click View Report to see the most up to date information compiled below. From there, the file can be downloaded in different formats, such as a PDF or Excel file.
Visit this page to see all of the oil and gas reports that the PA DEP issues.