Consol Energy Inc. has announced its plans to drill at least 47 shale gas wells on the grounds of Pittsburgh International Airport.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the plan will cost as much as $500 million with drilling to begin in 2014.
The company plans to drill the horizontal Marcellus wells from six well pads, most of them close to the airport property border. It’s still working to secure leases with private landowners around the periphery of the airport, officials said.
Joseph Zoka, general manager for central Pennsylvania operations with Consol’s gas division, said once the company starts drilling it’ll be able to assess if it makes sense to also drill Upper Devonian wells from the same pads during the development process. Those wells, several hundred feet above the Marcellus, also would be horizontal shale wells.
Last spring, officials from Consol and the Pittsburgh Airport got advice from officials at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport on how to approach gas drilling at a major transportation hub, according to the Post-Gazette.
Things have not gone as smoothly as officials had hoped at the Texas airport. Dallas/Fort Worth received $5 million in a settlement with Chesapeake Energy over allegations the company shortchanged the airport on royalty payments.
Landowners in Brandford County, Pennsylvania are making similar accusations against the company. Chesapeake is the largest driller in Pennsylvania and the second largest in the country.