EQT, Consol bid on Marcellus drilling near Allegheny County airports

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Two energy companies submitted the equivalent of multimillion-dollar bids this morning to drill on public land at Pittsburgh International Airport in Findlay and the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin.

EQT Production Company submitted a per-acre lease bonus bid of $4,750, while Consol Energy offered a per-acre lease bonus of $2,250.

The lease bonus would be applied to 9,263 acres of Allegheny County-owned land at the two airports, meaning the EQT bid could generate $44 million in up-front payments to the county's airport authority.

The Consol bid would provide $20.8 million in up-front payments.

Lease bonus payments would be in addition to ongoing royalties of 18 percent being sought by the authority on all gas, oil and hydrocarbons produced by the drilling.

The Consol bid was accompanied by a $2 million check, representing a deposit of 10 percent on its lease bonus bid. EQT did not provide a deposit.

JoAnn Jenny, airport authority spokeswoman, said she did not know if the lack of a deposit would disqualify EQT.

She said the bids would be reviewed to determine if they are valid. The authority then must decide whether to accept or reject them.

The authority fared better this time around in soliciting offers for drilling on airport land than it did four years ago when it got no bids.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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