Wilkes Marcellus Shale Drilling Forum Brings to Light Just How Many Active Gas Wells There are in PA

Wilkes University held a Marcellus Shale drilling forum on Wednesday. According to press reports, the upshot of the meeting was that it will not be impossible, but will certainly be difficult, to get a consensus on natural gas drilling that uses horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Read an excellent roundup of the meeting by clicking the link below.

One bit of information offered during the meeting is interesting to note:

[Nancy] Dolan [from the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition] outlined residents’ main concerns, which are for property rights, clean air and clean water. She brought up three well blowouts in the last year, in Clearfield, Tioga and Bradford counties, and listed several steps that should be taken to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents.

Steve Brokenshire, an environmental scientist with the state Department of Environmental Protection, said there are currently between 130,000 and 150,000 active wells in Pennsylvania — 350,000 since oil and gas drilling began in the state in 1859 — so “horror stories” should be taken in context.*

It seems those who oppose natural gas drilling in PA many times don’t know the scope of drilling—just how much natural gas drilling has gone on in the state since it first began in the 1800s. No doubt many (most?) of the 130-150K active wells in PA were fracked. Yes, there is a difference between vertical fracking and horizontal fracking. The difference? The volume of water, sand and chemicals used. But fracking technology itself is some 60 years old and has been used in millions of gas and oil wells nationwide.

*The Citizen’s Voice (May 26, 2011) – Wilkes holds forum on Marcellus Shale drilling issues