Pittsburgh airport gas drilling could yield higher royalties
The Allegheny County Airport Authority could be in line to receive a bigger payout from gas royalties than initially thought because land at Pittsburgh International Airport is likely to produce more gas than predicted, Allegheny County and Consol Energy officials said Tuesday.
The company has figured out a more efficient way to plan its wells, allowing it to reach through more of the Marcellus shale despite using fewer boreholes, said Richard E. Goings, vice president of geology/engineering at the Cecil-based company. That may allow the company to drill test wells into a second formation, the Upper Devonian layer, early in its development at the airport, he said.
“There may be some incremental increase in gas coming out of there, but it certainly won't be double,” Goings said.
Better technology has allowed the company to drill longer horizontal wells, reaching nearly 10,300 feet in Westmoreland County this year, he said. “We just keep pushing the envelope a bit longer.”
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said additional gas would mean more in royalties to benefit the airport.
“We hope they find a lot of gas. We all wish for that,” he said. “They haven't given us a written report, but early testing has shown there may be more gas than initially indicated.”
The county signed its first gas deal this year when the Airport Authority leased about 9,000 acres at Pittsburgh International to Consol Energy. The authority initially expected to receive about $500 million in royalties and fees over the life of the deal. That includes 18 percent royalties on the gas.
County Councilman Nick Futules, D-Oakmont, said he is pleased gas estimates are rising.
“That means more money for the airport,” he said.
Though Consol has increased estimates on gas production, its officials haven't substantially changed their estimates on the number of wells and well pads they'll develop, Goings said. Most of their gains will come from better efficiency, including well bores that stretch to 8,500 to 9,000 feet long as the company drills horizontally into the Marcellus.
Bobby Kerlik and Timothy Puko are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
- ‘Line is definitely blurry,’ state police say of dating websites and prostitution
- Homestead struggles to pick up pieces left by devastating fire
- Commander: City police working to improve accountability
- Flood victims’ family to receive $1.5M in damages
- Man arrested in massive Homestead fire
- Jan. 31 fundraiser to aid Homestead’s recovery from fire
- Newsmaker: Jeff Reinbold
- Monongahela Incline set to close for up to 70 days in fall
- Tribune-Review photojournalist Goldband wins 1st place in national competition