Chautauqua County is the western-most county in New York State. Vast quanties of natural gas are believed to be stored in the Trenton-Black River formation that undergirds the area. However, recent drilling attempts near Silver Creek and North Harmony have not been successful, although the introduction of new drilling technology may improve results.
The Marcellus shale is only about 90 feet thick in Chautauqua County which is considered sub-optimal. Generally, a thickness of 200 feet is considered minimal for economic drilling conditions.
The Medina sandstone is the usual target for drilling in Chautauqua County. There are thousands of Medina wells in the county. These run approximately 3,800 feet deep. Chautauqua is the third most productive county in the state for natural gas after Chemung and Steuben Counties which are in first and second place, respectively.