The state Department of Environmental Protection released its annual oil and gas report Friday afternoon. Among the highlights for 2017:

  • “About 5.36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was produced from unconventional gas wells ... the largest volume ... on record that has been produced in Pennsylvania in a single year.”
  • “Amid a record number of inspections, unconventional operators maintained a strong 95 percent compliance rate.”
  • “… there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing has resulted in a direct impact to a water supply in Pennsylvania.”

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a prepared statement: “As the production of natural gas in Pennsylvania reached record volume last year, DEP continued to work hard on program developments that improved customer service to industry and strengthened environmental protection.”

Total inspections, and inspections of unconventional Marcellus Shale wells, hit record levels, the report said, adding more than 36,000 compliance inspections were conducted during the year. DEP reported it has averaged 35,483 total inspections per year during the three years of the Wolf administration, up from an average of 26,230 in the previous four years under Gov. Tom Corbett.

The report said DEP issued 2,028 unconventional well permits last year, 707 more than in 2016, and operators produced 5.36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about a quarter-trillion increase over 2016.

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