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Here’s where all the US shale oil and gas wells are – map

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Post Carbon Institute has an incredibly detailed (and gorgeous!) map of all US shale oil and gas wells (they count 63,000 through June 2012 using data from Drilling Info). I’ve embedded it below so you can get lost in the crazy amount of detail:

For a more pleasant viewing experience though, head over to Post Carbon’s website or view the map full screen.

What immediately jumps out to me is just how much activity there is around the country. Check out all the activity in the Barnett Shale just west of Dallas, TX and literally under Fort Worth and thinning out near Possum Kingdom. South of me a couple hours is the Eagle Ford shale, which runs from East Texas to where the “Tex meets the Mex”. And drilling in places like Oklahoma and New Mexico, which don’t receive as many headlines as North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

Also interesting (to me at least) is how we see mankind’s mark on the land in the form of oil and gas wells. If you zoom in on the Bakken formation, what starts out as a blob of activity gives way to meticulously organized, DNA sequence-esque, east-west arrangement of drilling sites.

Just fascinating. If anyone needs me, I’ll be staring at this map the rest of the afternoon.

Props to @bradplumer and @postcarbon. If you like this map, you might also be interested in these maps of drilling rig movements.

David Wogan About the Author: An engineer and policy researcher who writes about energy, technology, and policy - and everything in between. Based in Austin, Texas. Comments? david.m.wogan@gmail.com Follow on Twitter @davidwogan.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. ceal@theriver.com 5:56 pm 03/14/2014

    Are there no shale oil and gas wells in Alaska?

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  2. 2. jtdwyer 9:21 pm 03/14/2014

    Cute – if you zoom in on places like Ft. Worth you can locate the wells in relation to major thoroughfares!
    I see that no wells have been drilled within the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant SW of McAlester, OK – despite being all over the area outside…
    It looks like all the wells in central Arkansas are still shut down – as a result of the increased earthquake activity caused by fracking…

    Link to this
  3. 3. SAULT18 3:54 pm 03/17/2014

    It’s crazy how we have thousands of these wells drilled before there was adequate regulation in place to make sure groundwater contamination, earthquakes and methane leaks weren’t a problem.

    Link to this
  4. 4. evosburgh 12:12 am 03/19/2014

    This is nothing in terms of well count. Go on to google earth and type in Denver city texas and look around.

    Link to this
  5. 5. enjuneer 7:43 pm 03/22/2014

    The March 2014 Journal of Petroleum Technology came with a wall size fold out of major oil and natural gas shale basins worldwide. The potential, thanks to excellent quite in depth American engineering, science and Yankee know how, worldwide oil and natural gas reserves will be increased by a –huge- amount. The shale oil cat, so to speak, thanks to rapidly developing state of the arts American science and technology, is out of the bag and all of the junk science and loud ramblings of SA and SA’s commenters is not going to slow the impending world wide shale oil revolution down hardly a smidgeon.

    It’s millions of wells that have been drilled, with over 1.1 quite safe fracture stimulations performed and monitored by 100,000 of thousands of the –best- most experienced competent scientists and engineers with quite good and intelligent state regulation. All with just a few implied, and no (0) actually proven incidences of ground water contamination anywhere at any time in the 66 year history of American fracture stimulation. Although fracture stimulation indeed creates very small minor seismic events, in all 1.1 million of “fracs” performed in the US, not one (as in 0) has ever been done with enough energy to cause any kind of damaging earthquake, EVER, neither in Arkansas nor anywhere else. Wild eyed speculation steeped in witch hunting junk science is not proof of anything, very much including earth quakes.

    If you want to view decades worth of quality engineering and science research and case history study on fracture stimulation, go to the SPE data base http://onepetro.org and do a search for “fracture stimulation”. You will get a list and abstracts of over 10,000 technical papers written by teams of really competent, ethical engineers and scientists who have a much deeper better understanding of fracture stimulation than you will be able to find anywhere else in the world. For a very small charge you can download any technical paper you want. Go to http://spe.org to see what 100,000′s of -real-, quite competent out here where the rubber meets the road petroleum engineers have as resources that go so far beyond anything SA, or its usual tiny gaggle of not all that well qualified or close to the real world academic resources. As I’ve said in the past, just because SA and SA’s mostly liberal arts degree writers don’t have much of an understanding of the tremendously complex and detailed technology of the oil and natural gas industry, doesn’t mean that the 100,000’s of thousands of quite competent engineers and scientists out here actually performing the study, research and execution don’t have a quite good understanding and ability to safely work with it.
    Even the European Union and Spain have just recently come out with recommendations to perform fracture stimulation.

    Link to this

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