Analysis & Summaries

  • The Allegheny Lease Mapping Project

    Exploring Patterns of Oil and Gas Agreements in Allegheny County, PA

Analysis & Summaries

There is much we can learn from the data obtained in the course of this project. In coming weeks FracTracker will be posting a series of in-depth analysis articles as well as case studies for how the lease mapping system might be used. In the meantime, here are some basic summaries of what we discovered as well as a master file of our data users may find useful in their own investigations.

NOTE:  FracTracker imported another large dataset into the Lease Mapping Project on June 6th. This data fills gaps in records from 2010 to 2016, nearly tripling the project’s overall content. The tables below reflect the updated dataset. The data download file will be updated shortly. 

Data Download

Click here to download a master ZIP file of all records in the Allegheny Lease Mapping Project. Here are instructions for unpacking ZIP files for Mac OSX and for Microsoft Windows.

Shapefile Download

Click here to download a shapefile of parcels in Allegheny County identified as having O&G leases through this project. Here are instructions for unpacking ZIP files for Mac OSX and for Microsoft Windows.

Number of Records by Year

The records uncovered in the lease search fall into a number of categories (see the Understanding Oil & Gas Agreements guide for more on these categories). The two most common receord types are O&G (mineral rights leases) and ASGMT O&G (when leases are transferred from one party to another). We found it interesting that the majority of leases were signed and/or transferred beginning in 2008. While it appears that many of these have been renewed in later years, it is possible that some of these leases have expired given that leases often have a 5-year expiration date.

DEED records exist in the lease mapping system when they were attached to oil and gas transactions by way of Marginal Reference Documents. The map is not searchable by DEED, but we retained these records in the individual parcel histories for reference.

Note that the number of records listed in the table do not correspond to the number of parcels shown on the map simply because one record could refer to numerous parcels in a single transaction.

Distribution of Parcels


Of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County, 117 have leases and other oil and gas agreements identified in the analysis. Below are two tables showing a breakdown of land areas these agreements cover. The first table ranks the top 20 municipalities by their total number of oil & gas related records in the database. The second ranks the top 20 municipalities by the number oil and gas agreements only. The “grand total” for each is the sum of all 117 municipality land areas with oil and gas related records to provide context.

School Districts

There are oil and gas related agreements in 44 of 46 school districts in Allegheny County, with the exception of Brentwood Borough and Keystone Oaks. The tables below shows the top 20 school districts in terms of the aggregated area of parcels identified in the analysis. The first represents all records in the database, the second oil & gas agreements only. These school districts are suburban in nature, mostly located near the margins of the county boundary.

Note that the school district data in this analysis was based on data purchased from the Allegheny Department of Real Estate in 2015. The data in this analysis includes four records each in two school districts that are now defunct (McDonald SD and Trafford SD), as well as two records in Norwin SD, which is in neighboring Westmoreland County.

Zoning Types

As can be seen in the two tables below, more land in this analysis is zoned residential than any other type, with agricultural land coming in at a close second. Although unconventional oil and gas drilling is a heavily industrial process, relatively few areas with oil and gas agreements are zoned for industry, representing just 3% of the total acreage identified. We found this interesting given that residential zoning is typically meant to protect residents from the encroachments of industrial development.