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County Gets $44 and $21 Million Bids for Airport Shale

A pair of well-known energy companies have submitted multi-million dollar bids for the right to drill into the Marcellus Shale under Pittsburgh International Airport.  It’s the second time the Allegheny County Airport Authority went out for bids for the more than 9,000 acres available at the Allegheny County and Pittsburgh International airports.

The second request for bids is less demanding than the first.  The Authority did not seek a minimum value, but it did request 18% royalties on all gas produced and an upfront per-acre deposit. Leasing the county-owned land was a key plank in County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's election platform.

The bidding opened in September, and closed Wednesday.  CONSOL Energy and EQT both submitted bids.  EQT Production Company submitted a per-acres lease bonus of $4,750.  CONSOL Energy submitted a per-acre lease bonus less than half of EQT’s at $2,250.  That means the county is looking at up-front payments of either $44 million or $21 million.  CONSOL’s bid included a $2 million check representing a 10% down payment.

“At this point we are going to be evaluating those bids to see if they meet the specifications of our request and then our board of directors is either going to choose one of the bids or they could also reject both bids,” said JoAnn Jenny, Allegheny County Airport Authority spokeswoman.

But, Jenny couldn’t give any indication on which bid is favored.

“At this stage of the game we really just opened the bids and we have basically two bids and two numbers and we have to go back and evaluate the validity of both bids and then we’ll be determining what our next steps will be,” Jenny said.


Copy corrected 12/6/12 7:50am to remove "oil" in the second paragraph and replace it with "gas."