The Allegheny County Airport Authority is seeking bids for a gas lease on Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, PA.
“We think that this a good time for the Airport Authority and Allegheny County to explore what options are available to us and how it may benefit County taxpayers,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Obviously, evaluating any bids is just the first step. Before any drilling occurs, there will be plenty of opportunity for input from the public and interested parties. One of the program’s priorities will also be to require the use of technology and best practices to reduce environmental risks and impacts so drilling can be done in a safe and responsible manner.”
“There is a lot of interest in airport property from established energy companies,” said David Minnotte, chairman, Allegheny County Airport Authority. “Seeking leases for gas drilling is an important means of generating non-aviation revenue that will reduce the cost of operations for the Airport Authority. That in turn could help reduce fees to the airlines which benefits passengers.”
This is the second time the Authority has tried to open up its acres to natural gas drillers. The first time it was unsuccessful in securing any bids. At that time the Authority wanted royalties of $4.5 million over the first 18 months of a lease and ongoing royalties of at least 25 percent. Now the Authority is seeking an ongoing royalty of 18 percent on oil, hydrocarbons, and gas produced.
Airports in other parts of the country are generating monies from drilling rights.
The county will put any lease before county council to review and will hold a public hearing in the municipality affected by the drilling.