Natural gas production started at Pittsburgh International Airport on Monday when CONSOL Energy finally turned on six wells located on the airport site.
The event marked a critical next phase of the sweeping natural gas exploration, development and production partnership expected to continue through 2018, and bring hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development activity to the region.
The airport authority received a $46 million up-front payment as part of the deal and will receive 18% royalties on the gas.
It reveals that the beginning of gas production is a significant event which will result in the first royalty payments from CONSOL to the gatewaty providing a critical non-aviation revenue stream to help further reduce fees to airlines.
“Today, we are celebrating the benefits of this public-private partnership as we see our airport benefitting from reduced costs and increased service,” says Allegheny County executive, Rich Fitzgerald.
“Our region, as a whole, will continue to benefit with the start of production.
“With last month’s announcement of the ethane cracker plant being built just a few miles away from here, we look forward to even more advancements and opportunities within the natural gas industry.”
All six wells on Pad 2 have been turned in-line and are now flowing natural gas into the MarkWest midstream infrastructure system, which was constructed specifically for the project.
The airport authority will receive 18% in royalty payments from CONSOL based on the market rate of natural gas.
Monthly production reports and payments to the Authority are expected to begin within months.
“Since the initial lease was signed and upfront payment received, we have reduced fees to airlines to their lowest rate in eight years,” enthuses Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO, Christina Cassotis.
“Innovative partnerships like this with a local, world-class company like CONSOL are key in helping attract air service.”
Leaders congratulated CONSOL for being good and responsive neighbours throughout the initial phases of the project.
“As a company that has called this region home for 152 years, we are very proud to have been selected to develop this flagship project,” says CONSOL Energy’s COO, Tim Dugan.
“CONSOL takes our responsibility in terms of safety and protecting the environment very seriously.
“These are the core values that we live by each and every day, and these are the values which will continue to guide us as we move forward with this important project.”