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The State of New York has been the home of roughly 75,000 oil, salt, and natural gas wells since the 1800s. More than 13,500 of these were active during 2008 producing more than 50 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, the fourth highest total in state history. These wells are concentrated in Western New York and the Southern Tier. Much recent attention has focused on drilling in the Marcellus shale formation which is prevalent in the south-central part of the state. However, as of July, 2009 new drilling continued to be on hold while the NY DEC assessed the environmental impacts of hydro-fracturing and prepared a draft supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (sGEIS).
- Update #1: The draft sGEIS was available and open for public comment up until December 31, 2009.
- Update #2: As of July, 2010 DEC continued to evaluate the 14,000 comments received on the draft sGEIS and conduct additional research. The final sGEIS was still pending as of July.
- Update #3: Production declined somewhat during 2009--down 11%--to 44.85 Bcf from the 50 Bcf produced the previous year. This is still the sixth highest flow ever.
New York prospective areas outlined in red
Courtesy of Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Another major shale formation in New York is the Utica shale.
The prospective area in the State for the Utica and Marcellus shale formations roughly is the region reaching from Chautauqua County eastward to Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties. as well as Broome County, home of Binghampton, NY.
Drilling in the Trenton-Black River (TBR) formation has actually been the most prolific source of gas in the state since the 1990s, particularly in the Finger Lakes region. Around 100 TBR wells produced somewhere over 35 BCF of natural gas during 2008--well over half of the gas produced in New York State that year. It represented 60% of 2009 production with 98 wells productive. One in particular, the Nowlan well in the town of Erin, Chemung County produced 2.49 Bcf alone during 2009. However, overall TBR production declined 22% in the State.
The most productive counties for natural gas in the State during 2009 were:
- First place -- Chemung
- Second place -- Steuben
- Third place -- Chautauqua
Top 10 NY Gas-producing counties in 2009 (in cubic feet) 1. Chemung 13,890,161,000 2. Steuben 12,320,765,000 3. Chautauqua 6,473,408,000 4. Erie 2,364,862,000 5. Cattaraugus 1,615,243,000 6. Chenango 1,599,381,000 7. Seneca 1,450,148,000 8. Cayuga 1,068,846,000 9. Madison 951,077,000 10. Schuyler 816,884,000 Statewide total | 44,848,895,000 Source: DEC
The pattern was similar the previous year (note that 2008 volumes are expressed in Mcf - 1,000 cf):
Gas Activity in the Top Ten Gas Counties (2008) Gas Active (Mcf) Gas Wells Steuben 17146368 69 Chemung 15626276 43 Chautauqua 6758069 3438 Erie 1961665 961 Seneca 1606948 214 Cattaraugus 1593604 528 Schuyler 1060947 18 Tioga 1038093 1 Cayuga 838287 291 Genesee 767032 519 (Source: 2008 Annual Report of the Division of Mineral Resources, DEC)