Jordan Yeager, Nockamixon's attorney, said he received a letter from Arbor last week that said it would drop its legal efforts.
"They were trying to ignore the rules that everybody else needs to live by," Yeager said. "When we stood up to them, they fought it. And now they've abandoned that fight."
Regardless of Nockamixon's efforts, Arbor was unlikely to drill anytime soon. Two moratoriums on drilling are in effect in Bucks County. And a saturated natural gas market has kept prices low, making gas exploration a big gamble in an area not yet known for being rich with the resource, experts say.
In 2012, state lawmakers mandated that no drilling permits could be issued in Bucks and Montgomery Counties until a study assessed how much drillable gas sat beneath them. And in 2010, the Delaware River Basin Commission barred drilling in the river's watershed until regulations were adopted and approved.
Nockamixon is situated on the geologic formation known as the South Newark Basin, which stretches from north-central New Jersey to Montgomery County. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report indicated that the basin could contain as much as 876 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
But the Marcellus Shale formation, which is in the western and northern parts of the state, holds 160 times more gas and already is fueling Pennsylvania's natural gas boom, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Dan Weaver, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, said it was not a shock that Arbor Resources gave up on Nockamixon.
"Do companies really want to spend their efforts and resources where they really don't know what their yield might be?" Weaver said. "Drilling for natural gas here in Pennsylvania is based on economics, and it's just not there."