Pennsylvania Shale Viewer

This map contains numerous data layers that help understand unconventional drilling activity in PA. View the map details below to learn more, or click on the map to explore the dynamic version of this data.

Last updated: 12/3/2019

12,305

Drilled Unconventional Wells

13,833

Violations at Unconventional Well Sites


PA Map Details

This map contains data related to unconventional oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania, as well as several data layers intended to enhance the viewer’s spatial reference.

In Pennsylvania, unconventional wells include wells drilled into both the well-known Marcellus Shale, the emerging Utica Shale and a number of less well known formations.  Oil and gas wells are marked as unconventional by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) if the following conditions apply:
An unconventional gas well is a well that is drilled into an Unconventional formation, which is defined as a geologic shale formation below the base of the Elk Sandstone or its geologic equivalent where natural gas generally cannot be produced except by horizontal or vertical well bores stimulated by hydraulic fracturing.

Due to the large file sizes, this map also contains generalized layers for five oil and gas related datasets:  pits, compressor stations, violations, drilled wells, and permits.  They show the location of their respective content when the map is zoomed out past 1:500,000, but do not include specific well or facility data.  To access these data, zoom in to 1:500,000 (about the size of a county) or beyond, at which point the generalized layers will disappear, and the data for the specific facility or event will become available in popup boxes by clicking on the map icons.

Name:  Unconventional Violations
Source:  PADEP
Date Range:  1-1-2000 through 12-3-2019
Notes:  For the original data, follow link above to “Oil and Gas Compliance Report”.  The original data does not include latitude and longitude coordinates.  We obtained those with a two step process of matching API numbers with the Unconventional Wells and Proposed Locations (below), netting 10,224 matches.  Violations assessed to the well pad itself (instead of an individual well) were matched using the Site ID number, yielding another 3,609 matches.  Altogether, there have been 13,833 violations assessed to unconventional well sites since 2005, or about 1.2 violations per well drilled.   Due to the large number of records, this layer isn’t visible until users zoom in to 1:500,000, or about the size of a small county. 

Name:  Unconventional Wells and Proposed Locations
Source:  PADEP GIS Portal

Date Range:  1-1-2000 through 12-3-2019
Notes:  This data layer contains unconventional well data in Pennsylvania.  However, not all of these wells have been drilled.  This layer is categorized by well status, which includes Abandoned, Active, Operator Reported Not Drilled, Plugged OG Well, Proposed but Never Materialized, and Regulatory Inactive Status.  To determine whether the well has been permitted, drilled, or plugged, look for the presence of an entry in the Permit Date, Spud Date, and Plug Date field, respectively.  Altogether, there are 21,769 wells in this inventory, of which 11,750 currently have an active status.   Note that an active status does not mean that the well has been drilled.  Altogether, 12,305 wells have spud dates, and 1,046 (8.9%) are now plugged.  Due to the large number of records, this layer isn’t visible until users zoom in to 1:500,000, or about the size of a small county.  Data was downloaded on 10-2-2019.

Name:  SkyTruth Pits (2013)
Source:  SkyTruth
Date Range:  2013
Notes:  Prior to December 2014, this map contained a layer of pits that were contained in Oil and Gas Locations file available on PASDA.  However, that layer was far from complete – for example, it included only one pit in Washington County at a time which news reports mentioned that seven pits in the county were scheduled to be closed.  Therefore, we have opted to include this crowdsourced layer developed by SkyTruth, where volunteers analyzed state aerial imagery data from 2013.  SkyTruth’s methodology for developing the dataset is detailed in the link above.  529 pits have been identified through this effort.

Name:  Compressors and Processors (2019)
Source:  Various
Date:  2019
Notes:  This compressor layer includes data from a variety of sources including the Oil and Gas Threat Maps, Pennsylvania DEP, US EPA, US Department of Homeland Security, and US Energy Information Administration. An attempt was made to remove duplicates when merging files by not including compressor stations that were within 500 meters of those present in other layers, which is an admittedly imperfect process.  Historically, compressor station files in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have had significant issues with bad location data and missing facilities, and this may still be the case with the combined data source.

Name:  Environmental Justice Areas
Source:  PADEP, via PASDA
Date:  2015
Notes:  Environmental Justice (EJ) areas are Census Tracts where over 20 percent of the population is in poverty, or over 30 percent of the population is non-white.  The program is designed to monitor whether there is a fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.  In Pennsylvania, EJ areas tend to be clustered in urbanized areas, particularly near Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  

Name:  Counties
Source:   US Census Bureau, FracTracker Alliance
Date Range:  2011
Notes:  This file was created by dissolving the Municipalities layer (below) to the county level.  This method allows for greater detail than selecting the Pennsylvania counties from a national file. 

Name:  Municipalities
Source:  US Census Bureau
Date Published:  2011
Notes:  Viewer must be zoomed into scales of 1:1,500,000 (several counties) or larger to access.
 
Name:  Watersheds – Large
Source:   USDA/USGS
Date Published:  2008
Notes:  Clipped to outline of Pennsylvania.
 
Name:  Watersheds – Small
Source:   USDA/USGS
Date Published:  2008
Notes:  Clipped to outline of Pennsylvania.  Viewer must be zoomed into scales of 1:1,500,000 (several counties) or larger to access.

Due to the large file sizes, this map also contains generalized layers for five oil and gas related datasets:  pits, compressor stations, violations, drilled wells, and permits.  They show the location of their respective content when the map is zoomed out past 1:500,000, but do not include specific well or facility data.  To access these data, zoom in to 1:500,000 (about the size of a county) or beyond, at which point the generalized layers will disappear, and the data for the specific facility or event will become available in popup boxes by clicking on the map icons.