The event kicked off a sweeping exploration and production program expected to continue through 2018 and bring hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development activity to the region.
“Today marks the culmination of what was an exhaustive process, one that was thorough at all levels, and, ultimately, drove significant collaboration and constructive, open dialogue with all parties,” said CONSOL Energy President and CEO Nick DeIuliis. “When you talk about public-private partnerships and the benefits such partnerships can generate, I believe this venture is and will be the gold standard. We intend to honor our 150-year legacy in this region by ensuring that this project is a model for safe and responsible shale gas development here in Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.”
“We are reinvigorating local communities all over the commonwealth by responsibly harvesting our energy resources,” commented Governor Tom Corbett. “Thanks to our ‘all of the above-and below’ energy strategy that is leading the way toward American energy independence, companies like CONSOL are investing in Pennsylvania and are creating family-sustaining jobs."
The ceremony took place on Pad 2, the first of six pads to be constructed on PIT property. CONSOL Energy plans to drill 45 Marcellus wells and will also explore the possibility of tapping other horizons from this location including the Devonian and Utica shales.
Drilling Operations to Begin in August 2014
Well Pads 1, 2 Being Prepared
Officials Performing Regular Safety Inspections
In April 2014, CONSOL Energy received final approval for Natural Gas development at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) when the Findlay Township Board of Supervisors authorized a conditional use permit.
“The vote represents the final step in what was a collaborative and comprehensive process with substantial, open dialogue among all stakeholders,” said CONSOL Energy CEO and President Nick DeIuliis. “That open dialogue produced many innovative concepts that highlight the value of public-private partnerships, and will make this project a model for the entire nation in safely and responsibly developing our natural gas resources to drive economic growth.”
Following the approval of the permit, construction and site preparation began immediately. “This is an exciting moment for CONSOL Energy and for the entire region,” said DeIuliis.
Including up-front bonus payments made to Allegheny County Airport Authority, anticipated royalties and intended capital spend by CONSOL Energy of approximately $500 million, the plan is expected to provide investment of over $1 billion dollars to the greater Pittsburgh region over the life of the project. The development plan calls for up to 6 pads with up to 45 Marcellus wells to be established on PIT property.
Contractors have begun work to prepare six-acre areas around well pads 1 and 2 south of I-376 and north of Route 30, and will construct three centralized water impoundments to hold 42 million gallons, 10 miles of gas pipeline and 11 miles of water line. Drilling activity is expected to commence in August with two vertical rigs. Wells pads are expected to be drilled in the following order: 2, 1, 4, 6, 3, 5.
Click here to view the map of well pad sites.
Contractors are currently cutting trees, grinding stumps and hauling chips as well as grading and installing erosion and sediment controls. Access roads to the well pads are being constructed, and areas surrounding the pads are being cleared and prepared for drilling apparatus. Earthen barriers are being constructed to minimize noise near well pad 2.
Security guards have been stationed at work zone gates. Air quality, noise levels and other factors will be monitored throughout the project to ensure compliance with permits and the highest safety standards.
Airport firefighters, along with local first responders, have received specialized training to respond to gas well emergencies, and all contractors have received safety, hazard and site-specific training for the areas where they will be working.
In addition to local, federal and state environmental officials, airport environmental and fire officials will perform regular inspections throughout the entire process from site preparation to production.