PA DEP Releases 2018 Oil & Gas Report

The following is a summary of key points made in the Pennsylvania DEP 2018 Oil and Gas Annual Report.

Black and white photo of an unconventional well site

The following is a summary of key points made in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) 2018 Oil and Gas Annual Report.

Record natural gas production

  • More than 6.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas produced from unconventional gas wells

Oil and gas well permits

  • 2149 oil and gas wells were permitted (a 62% decline since 2011, when 5745 permits were issued)

Wells Drilled

  • 917 wells drilled (a 72% decrease since 2011 when 3228 wells were drilled)

Produced Fluids

“A typical conventional oil and gas well uses about 20,000 – 50,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid to produce oil and gas. A typical unconventional gas well uses about 15 – 20 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid to produce natural gas.”

PADEP 2018 Oil and Gas Report
  • 90% of produced fluids are recycled
  • 7% were disposed of in Class II injection wells
  • 3% were “managed via other methods.”

Injection Wells

  • Eleven active Class II Underground Injection Control disposal wells in Pennsylvania.

“A Class II Underground Injection Control disposal well is used to dispose of produced fluids. Currently, there are only 11 active Class II Underground Injection Control wells in Pennsylvania.” [Italics added.]

PADEP 2018 Oil and Gas Report

Legacy Wells

Orphaned or abandoned well
  • †200,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania still unaccounted for
  • 12,164 orphan & abandoned wells located
  • 8,752 unplugged orphan/abandoned wells
  • 3,412 plugged orphan/abandoned wells

“Unfortunately, given its current resources, it will likely take DEP many years to locate and properly decommission all of Pennsylvania’s legacy wells.”

PADEP 2018 Oil and Gas Report

Violations

  • 4,060 unconventional and conventional violations
  • Conventional well violations increased from 1024 in 2015 to 3,017 in 2018
  • Unconventional well violations increased from 404 in 2015 to 1,043 in 2018.

Fines and Penalties

  • $4,140,382 fines and penalties collected

“In 2018, DEP collected $4,140,382 in fines and penalties related to non-compliance at oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania. Since 2011, DEP has collected about $36.9 million related to noncompliance at oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania. These fines and penalties are used to reimburse operating costs that are incurred by DEP in the oversight of oil and gas and related environmental programs.”

PADEP 2018 Oil and Gas Report

Just a reminder. . .

“To report any cases of suspected water contamination that may be associated with the development of oil and gas resources or any other environmental complaint, call the DEP’s statewide environmental hotline at: 1-866-255-5158.

PADEP 2018 Oil and Gas Report

Author: John Able

John is a retired Forest Service employee, where he worked as a wildland firefighter, public affairs officer, and technical writer. He lives with his family along a left-bank tributary of Conewango Creek in rural Warren County, Pennsylvania.

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