COCHRANTON — Gas wells are a familiar sight here in the rolling farmland of southern Crawford County.
East Fairfield Township Supervisor Bob O’Brien can see a half dozen of them from his kitchen window on Franklin Pike.
But the latest well isn’t like all the others.
Lippert 1H, located at 6321 Pettis Road, was drilled this summer into the Utica Shale to a depth of 7,236 feet, before crews drilled nearly another mile horizontally.
That makes it the first deep shale well drilled in this corner of Pennsylvania, said Gary Clark, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
A DEP drilling map shows a heavy band of drilling activity that extends from southwestern Pennsylvania, across the center of the state to northeastern Pennsylvania.
Gas exploration companies continue to drill so-called shallow wells throughout the state.
But until now, the Utica and Marcellus formations were largely untapped in the uppermost corner of northwestern Pennsylvania and a broad swath that included more than 20 counties in the southeastern part of the state.
That changed this summer, at least in Crawford County, when rigs and crews working for Texas-based Range Resources arrived in this rural township of about 850 people.
Range Resources, which developed some of the state’s first successful wells into the Marcellus Shale, drilled the Crawford County well in July.
The entrance to the well site is blocked by no-trespassing signs and by a security building, staffed by a guard.
Horizontal drilling is making it possible to reach the reserves under hundreds of acres from one location.