DEP Releases 2020 Oil and Gas Annual Report

Department of Environmental Protection Issues Hold on All Energy Transfer Clean Water Permit Approvals and Modifications Due to Non-Compliance

HARRISBURG, PA — Natural gas production in Pennsylvania increased while new well drilling decreased in 2020, according to the 2020 Oil and Gas Annual Report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Production from natural gas wells continues to increase. More than 7.1 trillion Mcf of natural gas was produced, continuing an upward trend from previous years. Due to the increased volume, Pennsylvania is currently the second largest producer of natural gas.

Other details from the annual report:

  • 1,017 drilling permits were issued; 918 unconventional and 99 conventional
  • There were 578 wells drilled; 527 unconventional and 51 conventional
  • DEP conducted 25,883 inspections and found 9,363 violations
  • DEP collected $33.3 million in fines and penalties in 2020

“DEP will continue to improve systems to better serve the commonwealth and will remain vigilant in regulating the commonwealth’s oil and gas industry,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

DEP continues to identify and plug orphan and abandoned wells in Pennsylvania, many of which predate regulatory oversight – a result of Pennsylvania’s 160-year history of oil and gas development. DEP estimates that there may be as many 200,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the state, which can leak methane into the air and possibly contaminate groundwater or surface water. On average, it costs $17,000 to plug one well.

“There are thousands of wells that need to be plugged,” said McDonnell. “Finding solutions to plug these wells will make the commonwealth a healthier place for our current and future residents.”

See the full 2020 annual report here.

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