Pennsylvania Shale Viewer

This map contains numerous data layers that help understand unconventional drilling activity in PA.

Last updated:  10/19/2016


PA Map Details

About This Map

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.

Map Contents

Name:  Violations
Source:  PADEP
Date Range:  1-1-2000 through 10-17-2016
Notes:  For the original data, follow link above to “Oil and Gas Compliance Report”.  Latitude and longitude data obtained by matching with permits data (see below).  There are 6,855 rows of violations data, including 5,854 distinct Violation IDs issued to 2,108 distinct unconventional wells.  Eight entries on the report (from three distinct wells) could not be matched to permit data, and therefore are not mapped.
 
Name:  Wells
Source:  PADEP

Date Range:  1-1-2000 through 10-17-2016
Notes:  Drilled unconventional wells in Pennsylvania.  There are 9,951 spudded wells on the report.  However, there is reason to think that this source could be incomplete, potentially under-representing the number of drilled wells by up to 3,315, although the drilled wells in question may not all be unconventional.
 
Name:  Permits
Source:  PADEP

Date Range:  1-1-2000 through 10-17-2016
Notes:  Permitted unconventional wells in Pennsylvania.  There are 21,651 permit actions from 17,721 proposed and drilled unconventional wells in the state.  However, there is reason to think that this source could be incomplete, potentially under-representing the number of permitted wells by up to 3,315, although the permitted wells in question may not all be unconventional.


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 (2016)
Source:  EDF, CATF, Earthworks, FracTracker Alliance, EPA, PADEP, EIA
Date:  2016
Notes:  This layer is based off of publicly available data, but is not published by any agency as a dataset.  It is the result of a collaborative effort, and the data first appeared in map format on the Oil and Gas Threat Map (oilandgasthreatmap.com).  Original sources include PADEP, US EPA, and US EIA.  Compiling, processing, and geocoding by Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Task Force, Earthworks, and FracTracker Alliance.

 
Name:  Environmental Justice Areas
Source:  PADEP, via PASDA
Date:  2010
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.  As such, they do not intersect well with unconventional oil and gas exploration activity in the state, which is heaviest in the northeast portion of the state, plus some rural counties in the southwest.  As of September 28, 2015, 489 out of 9,444 (5.2%) unconventional wells in Pennsylvania were drilled in EJ areas, and 215 out of the 6,315 (3.4%) mappable violation items on the compliance report occurred in EJ areas.  Due to the large number of records, a generalized version of the data was created for use at statewide scales.

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.

Generalized Layers

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.