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Pennsylvania's Gas-Well Revenue Down As Price, Drilling Drop

A natural gas drilling rig near an old barn.
Alex Brandon
A drilling rig is set up near a barn in Springville, Pa., to tap gas from the Marcellus shale gas field.

Pennsylvania’s counties and municipal governments will see the lowest level of annual fee revenue they get from Marcellus Shale gas wells, as drilling slowed and prices sank during the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said Monday

Impact fee revenue from Marcellus Shale wells sank to $146 million from drilling activity in 2020, down $54 million from the year before, the commission said.

Lawmakers authorized the fee in 2012, pinning it to new wells and the price of natural gas.

But the average price of natural gas in 2020 was $2.08 per million British thermal units, down from $2.63 in 2019. Pennsylvania also saw the fewest number of new wells drilled than in any year since the law was enacted, the commission said.

Most of the money, about $71.5 million, goes to county and municipal governments, while smaller amounts are earmarked for environmental improvement programs, roadway repairs and water and sewer infrastructure upgrades.

Associated Press