Drilling boom in Pennsylvania

Drilling boom in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is experiencing a mini-oil- and natural gas-drilling boom, state officials say.

Drilling activity is on pace to set a third consecutive yearly record, the Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday.

At the end of August, DEP issued 4,919 permits — a 29-percent increase over the 3,818 issued during the same period a year ago.

The number of drilling permits issued by DEP has risen steadily over the past six years, from 3,016 in 2001 to 3,084 in 2002 to 4,280 in 2003. In 2004, Pennsylvania issued a record 4,595 permits, followed by 6,046 in 2005 — a 32-percent increase.

It is estimated as many as 300,000 wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania since Edwin Drake drilled the nation’s first commercial oil well in 1859 in Titusville, Venango County. The commonwealth produced half of the world’s oil until the East Texas oil boom of 1901.

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