The FracTracker Mapping of Marcellus Permits
West Virginia Marcellus Shale permits issued by year, show data by county and the latitude and longitude of each permitted location. The red dot above is the geographic centroid for the permits issued for the year of each plot shown.
While the majority of the state has been explored over the past seven years, the entire southwestern portion has been essentially set aside in terms of the Marcellus Shale, and the average latitude and longitude (geographic centroid) of all permits issued in 2011 is less than 20 miles from the Pennsylvania border. [The "wet gas" region in WV extends thru the Northern Panhandle and includes Wetzel and Tyler Counties.]
Kanawha County in 2007 and 2008 led all West Virginia counties with 29 and 48 permits issued, respectively. Three years later, the number of new permits in Kanawha had dwindled to just one. Marshall County (the southernmost county in the panhandle) and Wetzel County (just to the south of Marshall) generated very little interest in the early exploration but by 2011, they were the top two counties in terms of permits issued.
The WVDEP data is not complete and some of the permitted locations are actually in adjacent states; some 373 of the 2472 records downloaded (15 percent) on 3-20-2012 lacked permit issue dates. It is possible that these dates could be obtained from the alternative data source:
The FracTracker Oil and Gas Dataviewer is useful because it is possible to select for permits issued, and because the location data is in longitude and latitude rather than universal transverse Mercator. County data is not included in the original data, but it is encoded in the well API number. Of necessity, the entries without permit issue dates were omitted from this analysis.