South Fayette School Passes on Offer from Range Resources

The South Fayette School District in South Fayette Township (Allegheny County), PA has decided to pass on an offer from Range Resources to transfer a Marcellus Shale drilling lease previously signed with Chesapeake Energy.

The South Fayette school board opted this week not to transfer the rights for the gas beneath the district’s land to Range Resources, allowing the drilling company’s deadline to pass without taking action.

The district had signed a lease for horizontal drilling only — no well pads could be built on district property — with Chesapeake Energy two years ago. But when Chesapeake announced this year that it was scaling back its intentions to drill for gas in the Marcellus shale, officials at Range Resources started asking the school district to transfer the lease to them. Solicitor Fred Wolfe said Range was transferring a large number of other leases from Chesapeake and wanted to know by the end of the month if the school district’s lease would be one of them.

The lease with Chesapeake expires in 2015.*

Although Chesapeake has announced a scaling back of Marcellus drilling in dry gas (methane-only) areas of the shale play, South Fayette sits right along the boundary between wet (natural gas liquids) and dry gas, so perhaps Chesapeake will be drilling nearby after all. MDN will keep an eye on this story.

*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Mar 29, 2012) – Education briefs