The proposed plan outlines six well pad locations and three centralized water impoundments. The plan proposes a total of 47 Marcellus wells, with the future potential to drill Upper Devonian wells. CONSOL Energy is hopeful that this horizon can be built into its operational objectives for the airport project. However, the company will not have clarity on its potential until it begins drilling and can conduct analysis of core testing, which is estimated to occur in Q3 2014. Any development of the Upper Devonian formation would occur on the existing pad locations and utilize the same infrastructure to maintain operational efficiency, minimize environmental impacts, and maximize production potential.
CONSOL Energy projects that construction of the well sites, centralized impoundments and pipelines will begin in second quarter 2014. Drilling activity is expected to commence in July 2014 with two vertical rigs. Upon the start of horizontal rig operations, the vertical rig count will be reduced to one and both units will run for the duration of the project through 2018. Approximately 17 miles of gas line (11 on ACAA property) and 12 miles of water line will be utilized to deliver gas to market and provide water for well completions. CONSOL Energy has no plans to construct new public roads on airport property and will be able to rely on existing roads without any disruption to daily airport traffic. The drilling plan does call for construction of several access roads on and adjacent to airport property.
"CONSOL Energy and ACAA have been working diligently over the past several months to develop a drilling plan that we are confident will allow us to safely and compliantly access the natural gas located at the airport property while minimizing our environmental and operational impacts," commented Nicholas J. DeIuliis, president of CONSOL Energy. "This project represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to generate significant economic benefits for the residents of Allegheny County and we take our responsibility to get it right very seriously. We intend to make it a flagship for the region that everyone can be proud of."
"The economic opportunity that this project brings to our region is unparalleled. This is a huge public works project, totaling nearly $500 million, and will be putting many of our people to work," added Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Chief Executive. "The expected revenues will allow us to lower costs at the airport and attract additional flights. It ensures that our taxpayers do not have to pick up additional costs at the airport, and allows us to support infrastructure and other development near the airport easing the burden on taxpayer funds, which, ultimately, leads to additional jobs and growth for our region."
"Our abundant reserves of safe, reliable natural gas are bringing thousands of jobs to the region and much-needed revenue into Pittsburgh International Airport so it once again serves as an economic catalyst for Southwestern Pennsylvania," said Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18).
CONSOL Energy and the ACAA are currently conducting the Environmental Assessment that will be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Rhea Engineers & Consultants of Gibsonia, PA, has been retained by CONSOL Energy to manage the Environmental Assessment for the PIT project. Members of the Rhea team participated in both the Public Official and Public Workshop sessions today, during which they assisted in explaining the various requirements of the Environmental Assessment, including purpose and need, traffic, noise, stream/wetland impacts, threatened and endangered species coordination, emissions, waste, social impacts, lighting, energy source, water quality and safety. The final Environmental Assessment document is scheduled to be submitted to the FAA by ACAA for approval in December 2013.
"We are at an important point in the planning process where we encourage residents to learn more about oil and gas development plans at Pittsburgh International Airport. As part of the environmental assessment process, public comments and questions are being accepted at FlyPittsburgh.com and will be included in the FAA proposal," said David Minnotte, Chairman, Allegheny County Airport Authority.
Seismic testing at Pittsburgh International Airport is scheduled to begin in late October. Survey and recording crews will gather data over a 1-2 week period that will parallel approx. 33 miles of surrounding roadways. CONSOL Energy also engaged a consultant to conduct a sound study, which entailed recording sound levels at a range of lengths from several of its current Marcellus locations during various stages of development. This process has been completed and early results indicate that drilling activities will meet the township ordinance and will not result in a significant impact.
For more information on oil and gas development at Pittsburgh International Airport, visit www.FlyPittsburgh.com/energy.