Drilling Down

Consol Begins Natural Gas Production at Pittsburgh Airport

PITTSBURGH – Six horizontal wells owned by Consol Energy Inc. at the Pittsburgh International Airport are now in production, leading to critical non-aviation revenue for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, the partners announced this morning.

Under the lease agreement with Consol, the Airport Authority received an up-front payment of $46 million and will receive monthly royalty payments of 18% on gas production from the wells. Those payments are expected to begin within months, and the gas would be transferred into MarkWest’s midstream system, the parties said.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to explore this public-private partnership two years ago following and extensive public process,” said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive. “Our region, as a whole, will continue to benefit from production. With last month’s announcement of an ethane cracker plant being built just a few miles away from here, we look forward to even more advancements and opportunities within the oil and gas industry.”

In February 2013, the Airport Authority leased 9,200 acres at Pittsburgh International and Allegheny County Airport to Consol for oil and gas exploration. Six well pads that are able to hold 45 Marcellus shale wells are planned for the site.

Drilling began on well pads 1 and 2 in August 2014, and the six wells placed into production this month are positioned on well pad 2.

In October 2015, the Airport Authority reduced airline rates for the third straight year, lowering the cost per enplaned passenger to $12.88, the lowest since 2008.

Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said that the lease deal provides the airport with critical non-aviation revenue that helps reduce fees to airlines. “Since the initial lease was signed and upfront payment received, we have reduced fees to airlines to their lowest rate in eight years,” she said. “Innovative partnerships like this with a local, world-class company such as Consol are key in helping attract air service.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.