Energy. Environment. Economy.

Perilous Pathways: Mapping Pennsylvania’s Abandoned Wells

About 200,000 orphaned and abandoned wells likely dot Pennsylvania, but the Department of Environmental Protection only has information about a fraction of them.

These holes in the ground with deteriorating or nonexistent plugging are potential pathways for gas to migrate to the surface. StateImpact Pennsylvania has used the state’s data to create a map of every known abandoned well. Click on any dot below to see what data the state has collected.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


  • Maggie Henry

    DEP is NOT doing their job identifying old abandoned wells at all! I have a USGS map identifying 1500 wells drilled and in some state of production between 1901-1906 and not a single one of them is on the DEP’s spreadsheet of wells! I actually filed an objection with the EHB over DEP issuing permits in what is known as the historic Bessemer Oil Field. Makes no difference to me who they gave the permits to, there are areas just too sensitive to drill. Exactly what was DEP’s response to the objection? Join forces with Shell, who hired the legal firm Babst and Calland of Pittsburgh to represent them. Why was Shell even involved? The dispute is over granting permits in this six mile wide area that was turned into Swiss cheese at the turn of the last century. There are actually historical references to another 2000 wells drilled here after 1910! DEP is cooperating with multinational corporate interests… Is there anyone who actually believes this is in best interest of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pa or the environment they are supposed to be protecting?

    • Tom Hackal

      Maggie: Hello! Where can I find the USGS Map?

      • Maggie Henry

        Of the bessemer oil field?

        • pghsheep

          yes map

          • Maggie Henry


            gets you an index of all the stuff available. You want the very first on A5 – New Castle Quadrangle. Clicking on that link starts the download of that map series and the farmline map is in there. Hope that helps…lots of resources there as well!

          • pghsheep

            Thank you for all your effort.

      • Maggie Henry

        gets you an index of all the stuff available. You want the very first on A5 – New Castle Quadrangle. Clicking on that link starts the download.

  • Maggie Henry

    Not one of the wells drilled in the historic Bessemer Oil Field, a six mile wide area, home to thousands of abandon gas and oil wells is on this DEP spreadsheet. Meadville office of DEP has a farmline map with over 1000 of these wells on it and not one of them is identified here.

  • Maggie Henry

    Tom, originally it was a farm line map that we were handed at DEP in Meadville… really strange they gave me the map, but not a one of the wells on it are in the data base. Then we found it online at DCNR’s website. Let me see if I can’t find a link for you. We also found in old oil and gas journals online reference to another 1500 wells being drilled after the publish date on the map and most recently we found a newspaper article that documents a 3,300 ft deep well being drilled in the Bessemer Oil Field. That is deeper than the Butters Well Shell blew up last summer in Tioga! Laurie Barr with Save Our Streams Pa is absolutely relentless and a joy to know!

  • Brett C

    I searched for abandoned wells for a year and a half in 2013-14. I would love to get back into the field if anyone has a recommendation I would greatly appreciate it

    • davebch1

      Our company is launching an initiative to help states’ solve this issue; feel free to email me for more info

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