New York State Oil & Gas Wells – 2020 Update

We’ve recently updated the New York State Oil and Gas Well Viewer with data up to 2020. The map and data below show that conventional gas drilling in New York State has decreased significantly since the first decade of 2000, but drilling for oil in western New York has increased in the past few years. In part thanks to the fracking ban in New York State, less than 1% of the wells in New York State have been drilled unconventionally.

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Currently, there are more active gas wells in New York State than all other types combined. Fewer than 1% of the wells in the New York State database have been drilled directionally or horizontally. And only a fraction of those were gas wells. Since 2014, high-volume hydraulic fracturing has been banned, due to health and environmental concerns.

Western New York State was once a very active region for oil drilling, but today, only 21% of all oil wells are still active. Additional well types include brine solution mines. Many of these mines, once a large enough cavern has been dissolved, are later converted into storage mines for gas.


Well type, as of 24 January 2020 Status = Active Status = Other (includes plugged and abandoned, unlisted/unknown, converted, voided/expired permit, etc.) 
Gas well 6,721 (58% of all active wells) 4,214 (13% of “other” categories)
Oil well 3,581 (31% of all active wells) 13,217 (40% of “other” categories)
Storage well 840 (7% of all active wells) 146 (<1% of “other” categories)
Monitoring well 165 (1% of all active wells) 311 (1% of “other” categories)
Brine well 138 (1% of all active wells) 593 (2% of “other” categories)
Other (145 geothermal, 7724 category not listed) 85 (1% of all active wells) 7,784 (23% of “other” categories)
Disposal well 36 (<1% of all active wells) 4,186 (13% of “other” categories)
Dry hole 4 (<1% of all active wells) 2,786 (8% of “other” categories)
Total 11,570 33,237 

Patterns in Well Drilling

Well drilling in New York State was at a high point between the mid-1960s and the early 1990s. After another peak in activity in the first decade of the 21st century with conventional gas drilling, activity has dropped off sharply.

New York State oil and gas wells per year 1990-2020

Figure 1. Oil and gas wells in New York State per year, 1990-2020. Data from NYS DEC.

A Potential Uptick in the Past Few Years

While gas drilling in New York State has tapered off dramatically, drilling for oil in Cattaraugus County in western New York has increased significantly since 2017.

New York State new oil wells 2017-2020

Figure 2. Oil wells drilled in Cattaraugus County, New York, 2018-19. Data from NYS DEC.

Nearly every one of the 169 new wells drilled in New York State during 2019 was an oil well within 5 miles of St. Bonaventure in Cattaraugus County. We’ll be following up shortly with a more in-depth analysis of the issues and risks associated with this oil “boom” in the upper reaches of the Allegheny River of New York State.

4 replies
  1. Brenda Daly
    Brenda Daly says:

    I visit your site periodically. I find it informative. I am interested in getting involved in plugging up and/or removing abandoned/orphaned oil and gas wells. I have read that there are approximately 2,400 of these in NY state. I saw several articles in NY Times and tv, in the past 4 years about volunteers and paid staff who are working on closing up and/or dismantling these wells. I’d like to get involved, help. Can you send me information to my email inc contacts? Thanks.

    • Karen Edelstein
      Karen Edelstein says:

      Hi Brenda, We’ve reached out to people in New York State who may have more information to share with you, and will contact you when we hear back from them. Thanks for your interest in helping out!

  2. Peter Chouteau Maffitt
    Peter Chouteau Maffitt says:

    from Peter Maffitt 713 2178 2216
    Jim Crenshaw has a new oil well stimulation technology which is a green frac with little damage to water and air. How can this new technology be used in NY?

    • Shannon Smith
      Shannon Smith says:

      FracTracker Alliance does not believe that hydraulic fracturing, or any type of fossil fuel extraction, can be done safely. Based on our many analyses of the oil and gas industry, we believe that the most logical path forward is to invest in truly sustainable, alternative energy and to do so in a way that ensures environmental justice.

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