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The Haynesville Shale is an underlying rock formation in northwest Louisiana and northeast Texas that contains vast quantities of natural gas. With new technology has come the ability to extract more natural gas from one of the largest gas deposits in the United States. With increased production, increased change in the local ecosystem will occur. It is necessary to examine oil and gas exploration effects on the local ecosystem due to changes in land cover, such as habitat loss and increased soil erosion. Remotely sensed imagery were utilized to ascertain the use of various digital image processing techniques to determine which digital transformation would more accurately identify current well pads within the Haynesville Shale region. Techniques evaluated included digital ratios, digital vegetation indices and digital principal component analysis. Results indicate that all vegetation indices and principal component analysis were extremely useful in visually identifying well pad locations while the effectiveness of digital ratios depended on the ratio utilized.


Energy demand has risen in recent years and is expected to continue to increase. Oil and gas are the primary sources for energy and this demand intensifies efforts in the petroleum industry to increase exploration and production. Concerns of the potential environmental impacts due to the exploration and production of petroleum have also increased in recent years.

Oil and gas drilling typically involves disturbing approximately 0.5 - 2.3 hectares (1.2 - 5.7 acres) of land by clearing, leveling, and surfacing for placement of the pad, pit, road, and drilling equipment. This disturbance of land can fragment the land cover and result in loss of productive forests and agricultural lands, and may affect other resources, such as water resources and wildlife habitats.

While oil and gas production has occurred in the region for decades, current production has dramatically increased due to new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling. Drilling in the Haynesville Shale started in 2007, with approximately 891 completed wells by October 2010. The majority (715) of these wells were located in Louisiana.



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