Historical Markers
Leidy Natural Gas Boom Historical Marker
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Leidy Natural Gas Boom

Valleys of the Susquehanna


Marker Location:
SR 4001 just West of the Leidy Bridge, Leidy Twp.

Dedication Date:
July 29, 1995

Behind the Marker

Every prospector for oil and gas knew that his work had the possibility of disastrous consequences. Wells sunk deeper into Earth required tubing that could withstand greater pressures. Most often, the drilling was conducted within a sleeve of tubing called casing. Drake drilled his first well using copper casing, but subsequent wells were normally cased with wrought iron. With additional implements, including a leather satchel and a bag of seed, petroleum drilling continued with only minor additions. Gas drilling, however, posed technical difficulties that were very unique from petroleum. By the time of the "Leidy Gas Boom," trial and error had created a stable infrastructure for gas development.

Virtually all deep drilling in the Appalachians prior to 1950 was done with cable tools. If the shale through which the drill passed contained gas pockets, small explosions might take place. While such explosions would not be dangerous to the drillers, the apparatus could become wedged. If the gas pockets were of sufficient force to blow the tools up the hole past the drilling line and wedge them, the hole would need to be re-drilled and the tools often lost. This extra expense could mean the abandonment of the well.

With such limitations, drilling to the portions of Earth's crust known as Oriskany sandstone did not progress rapidly. While natural Oriskany gasses were first found in New York in the early 1900s, major development did not occur until the well was struck at Leidy in 1950. Subsequently, companies from New York and Pennsylvania undertook massive drilling operations. In 1951, the record was set for the largest initial production of gas for the Appalachian basin, by New York State Natural Gas Finnefrock No. 1 well in Leidy, which had been drilled into the Sandstone at 6,339 feet.
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