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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Washington County, The Hunt is On!

Throughout the Shale region of Pennsylvania there are legacy oil and gas wells. Many of these wells have been long forgotten after operators abandoned them. Some have been plowed under in farm fields, and communities have been developed over others. Many lost and abandoned wells may never cause problems, however legacy wells are at risk of becoming pathways for natural gas and fluids when drilling and hydraulic fracturing takes place nearby.

On November 1st 2011 Save Our Streams PA kicked off a ‘scavenger hunt’ for lost, orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells.
Save Our Streams PA  is working to raise awareness to the health, safety, environmental, economic, and regulatory issues associated with lost, orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells and to promote their plugging.

Washington County is home to an unknown number of legacy wells left behind by industry operators in the historic oil and gas fields which are also in the Shale region.

If you would like to join the hunt, the following information and helpful links may help you start your hunt in Washington County.
The first few links will take you to Google (free) ebooks pages. These books are a great way to find information on Washington County’s historic oil and gas fields.
Many of the (early) United States Geological Surveys, summarys, reports and historic oil and gas industry publications have been scanned and made available to read and download for free! Some of these publications include location, depth and production data.

Here are some links related to early oil and gas wells in Washington County, to get you started:
According to ‘The oil and gas fields of Pennsylvania’ published in 1922,
in  1917  Washington County was home to the deepest well in the United States and second deepest in the world. “It was completed at McDonald, Washington County Pa
. by the Peoples Natural Gas Company. The depth was 7248 feet.”  Visit the following link to learn more:

In that same publication, Page 61:  Washington County, Pool No 189 Florence Original well had a production of 100 to 500 bbls of oil a day but it has settled to a barrel or less now .In 1918 a gas well made 100,000 cu ft of gas …

Page 6:
 of  the The Seventh Report on the Oil and Gas Felds of Western Pennsylvania, 1887, 1888 Washington District reads:
“Including under this head all the territory south of the Ohio River in Beaver Allegheny and Washington counties which has been widely prospected for oil and gas we find that the only new discoveries during the last…”  Read more ( scroll down)

Page 127

Chapter XVIII
Well Records in Washington County  Page 279:
or the following pages:
Franklin Township
Canton Township
South Strabane Township
Cecil and North Strabane Townships
& this page  and the next several  pages
Buffalo Township
Monongahela City, Carroll twp
Allen Township
East Pike Run Township
West Alexander,Donegal Township
West Finey Township
Amwell Township

You may also download a list of known abandoned wells by visiting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ( PADEP) here, however only a small percentage of legacy wells are identified on historic maps and industry records (not reconciled) are included in the current  PADEP database. An unknown number of wells  have been lost.
PADEP officials estimate there have been  325,000 - 500,000 wells drilled in Pennsylvania since 1859.
Many local librarys have books with information on the lost wells of Pennsylvania.

The DCNR has “Farmline maps” which dentify some of Washington County’s oil and gas wells.
(Pennsylvania’s farmline maps have not been reconciled with the PADEP records)

Many of Pennsylvania’s local Historical Societies have records on historic well locations also.

If you locate one of Washington County’s lost and abandoned wells, please send us a photo so we can add it to the online map to help us raise awarness to the tens of thousands of Pennsylvania’s lost orphan and abandoned wells!

Happy hunting!
Save Our Streams PA