Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Drilling then, Pittsburgh drilling now

So the PG has a story on the (future) potential drilling for natural gas within the limits of the city of Pittsburgh proper.  See: Beneath Pittsburgh lies abundance of gas

What caught my eye was the quote from the industry that they just were not even considering drilling in the city.  ""I can't imagine anybody wanting to tackle that. The urban development, coupled with the surface topography and all that, it's just going to be a nightmare."  Funny thing is that the urban environment was much the same year and decades into the past, the surface topology was much the same millenia ago.  So it must have never been the case that drilling in the city was being planned, being a nightmare and all??

So I don't doubt that statement is true today, but just as surely it was not the case in the near past.  I myself received multiple inquires from different landman representing different drillers looking at properties in the densist part of the city in Lawrenceville and environs. Don't believe me, I have scanned one of the notices. You can look up who Dale Property Services was mostly working for at the time. There was even a mass pitch to residents at the former St. Matthew's chuch in Lawrenceville. For sure leases were signed across the city, concentrated in Lawrenceville, Lincoln Place and of course many of the cemeteries in the city sold their rights to frack underneath.  Remember, most leases have time constraints for development to begin, else the developer loses their rights, so there were several folks seriously planning on drilling in the city  in the near future before they realized public sentiment might not make it easy to pursue.  Might be interesting for someone to look into what happened with all those earlier leases in the city, for some we might be coming up on 5 years since signing I speculate.

Again, I believe it when they describe the current interest in drilling in the city as minimal, but there seems to be no memory of the earlier frenzy which was real for several years before cooling.  Potter counted only 102 new natural gas leases in the city of Pittsburgh proper between 2009-2011.


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