A major concern for many Pennsylvanians about gas drilling is land disturbance and forest fragmentation resulting from well-pad construction. The disturbance includes the well pad area of course and can include roads needed to reach a pad in a forested area.
Spacing out well pads and concentrating as many wells as possible at a single well pad are practices that can decrease land disturbance impacts. They also are practices that can decrease the cost of drilling.
According to data developed by MarcellusGas.Org, the number of wells per pad has been rising each year since 2008.
Here are the numbers:
2008 - 1.2 wells per pad
2009 - 1.7 wells per pad
2010 - 2.5 wells per pad
2011 - 2.9 wells per pad
More wells per well pad reduces land impacts, makes inspections more efficient to do, and lowers industry development costs. It is a good trend.
MarcellusGas.Org also crunched numbers that show how many well pads have various numbers of permitted wells.
1,552 well-pads have 1 permitted well
446 well-pads have 2 permitted wells
296 well-pads have 3 permitted wells
217 well-pads have 4 permitted wells
172 well-pads have 5 permitted wells
221 well-pads have 6 permitted wells
69 well-pads have 7 permitted wells
51 well-pads have 8 permitted wells
MarcellusGas.Org states that there are 50 well pads with 9 or more permitted wells. A DCNR well-pad has the most permitted wells--21.