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Oil, Gas and Solution Salt Mining Information Center for Students and Teachers

New York is rich in minerals - oil, gas, solution salt and hard minerals mined for industrial and construction uses. Extraction of minerals through drilling is a half-billion-dollar industry in New York State. Protecting the environment when minerals are extracted is an important job of DEC, carried out by the Division of Mineral Resources.

The division maintains regulatory files and databases, as well as information about the minerals found during exploration. These records indicate that more than 70,000 wells have been drilled in New York; computerized records exist on more than 34,000 wells, of which about 14,000 are active.

This information forms a picture of mineral resources in New York, their extraction and use, and the extraction techniques that help protect the environment, including:

  • Geology and location of hydrocarbon resources in New York
  • Environmentally protective oil and gas development techniques
  • Reclamation of land affected by oil and gas development
  • History of the oil and gas development industries in New York
  • Hydrocarbon exploration and development
  • Hydrocarbon-derived materials and uses

Much information about these topics can be found in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program, or GEIS. This document consists of a three-volume draft, released in 1988, and a final volume, released in 1992. Although the GEIS was prepared to fulfill the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the division expanded the document to serve as an educational resource. Subjects covered by the GEIS, in addition to regulatory and technical topics, include:

  • History of oil, gas and solution salt production in New York State
  • New York State geology and its relationship to oil, gas and salt production
  • Environmental resources
  • Drilling and production methods
  • Economics of mineral extraction

Another source of information about New York's mineral resources is the New York State Geological Survey at the State Museum in Albany, where many historical well records and maps are on file, along with the world's oldest and largest collection of New York rocks and minerals, and an extensive list of geological publications. A complete list of Survey publications may be obtained from: State Science Service 3140 Cultural Education Center Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12230

The Empire State Organized Geologic Information System (ESOGIS) is a searchable online database of information pertaining to the oil and gas wells of New York. Users can query and view data for all of New York's 35,000+ wells. The site also provides access to maps, reports, permit data, geophysical logs, formation tops, and production statistics.

About New York's Oil, Gas and Solution Salt Resources

Data on Oil, Gas and Other Wells in New York State - Well drilling statistics and drilling permits issued

Ins and Outs of Salt Mining - How salt is mined by dissolving it in water and pumping it out through a well

25 Years of Gas Production - History of gas production in New York

Reports on Oil, Gas and Mineral Extraction - Annual Reports from the Division of Mineral Resources, 1994 - 2004

Geographic Information on New York's Wells and Mines - Access to DEC's Environmental Navigator mapping application

Oil and Gas Technical Publications - Abstracts of articles prepared by Division of Mineral Resources staff, with information about how to obtain the full presentation

Stratigraphic Section for Southwestern New York State - Structure of underground strata in the state's oil- and gas-producing region

Protecting the Environment When Minerals are Extracted

Protecting the Environment During Well Drilling and Operation - How DEC uses well drilling permits to require environmentally sound drilling practices and safe plugging of wells when drilling is complete

Drilling Permit - What well drillers must do to obtain and comply with a drilling permit

Oil, Gas and Other Wells Regulated by New York State - Solution salt mining, geothermal, stratigraphic and brine disposal wells are subject to the same requirements as oil and gas wells

Division of Mineral Resources - How the division is organized to carry out its work

Other Oil, Gas and Solution Salt Mining Resource and Information Centers

Landowners Information Center - Leasing private land for oil and gas development; well owner responsibilities

Well Operators and Applicants Information Center - Tools and information for applicants and operators who are subject to the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law and Regulations; links to permit requirements, guidance and policies, reporting requirements

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