Jan 30, 2012

Boom in shale drilling slows Pa. crude oil industry

(York Dispatch) ... Pennsylvania, birthplace of the petroleum industry thanks to Col. Edwin Drake's fortuitious 1859 well near Titusville, has 19,000-plus oil wells in production. Those shallow wells plugged nearly 4 million barrels of crude oil into the marketplace last year.
In sharp contrast to deeper oil wells in the Oklahoma and Texas fields, Pennsylvania's wells are classified as stripper wells, or shallow wells that are marginal producers and eke out 10 barrels of oil or less a day. The average stripper well in Pennsylvania yields less than half a barrel (0.43) of oil a day, or about 18 gallons of crude oil.
Still, at today's going rate of nearly $100 a 42-gallon barrel, there's money to be made in conventional oil production that typically features a mom-and-pop operation going back two or three generations.
The enterprise, though, has been turned topsy-turvey because of the deep shale gas industry that has drawn in global, mega-energy companies intent on tapping hugely prolific natural gas tucked inside rock strata ten-times deeper than Pennsylvania's conventional oil sands. Continued

Photo: Pennsylvania. Tank house and good pumping oil well, circa 1910 (Library of Congress).