7 Percent of Allegheny County (PA) Now Under Lease for Natural Gas Drilling, But Permits Indicate Little Drilling

In an article on the developing situation of whether and where to allow Marcellus Shale drilling in Allegheny County, PA, we get this update of how much land has been leased, and the likelihood of whether or not drilling will commence in the county:

Countywide, more than 35,000 acres, representing about 7 percent of the county’s land area, was under lease as of May, according to Pitt statistics. The heaviest concentration of leases are in the county’s northeast corner, including West Deer, Fawn and Frazier; the southern tip, including Forward and Elizabeth townships; and western municipalities, such as Findlay and North Fayette, that border Beaver and Washington counties.

Monroeville-based Huntley & Huntley Inc. leads the list of companies holding drilling rights, with agreements covering 10,990 acres countywide since 2003.

Despite the increasingly busy market for drilling rights in Allegheny County, few wells have been started. In 2010, drillers received only two permits, according to Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. No permits have been issued so far this year.*

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Feb 27) – City of Pittsburgh rejects Marcellus drilling; Allegheny County studies it