Shale Development Benefits All Americans

As presidential nominating conventions get underway in Cleveland and Philadelphia, it’s critical that America’s abundant natural gas resources are recognized as an asset that can continue to help create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobsgreatly improve our environment and strengthen the nation’s world standing.

Highlighting these benefits in a joint Crain’s Cleveland Business column, MSC’s David Spigelmyer and Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Shawn Bennett underscore the fact that domestic shale development, led by producers throughout the Appalachian Basin, is moving America forward:

“Led by the Appalachia region’s world-class natural gas resources, America is no longer reliant on foreign – and often hostile and unstable – nations to meet our growing energy needs. Through innovations in hydraulic fracturing – a tightly regulated and nearly 70-year-old technology – coupled with horizontal drilling advancements, we’re producing the energy needed to power a modern, 21st century economy right here at home.”

Indeed, consumers and small businesses, too, are realizing these benefits. For example, CONSOL Energy’s partnership with the Pittsburgh International Airport to develop natural gas is lowering airline fees and expanding flight destinations. The airport’s CEO credits this local partnership for bringing “in five new airlines in the last 18 months.”

Jake Smith (cq), Aaron Currey (cq), and Nick Phipps (cq), Consol Energy Supervisors, listen to what the speakers have to announce at a press conference on July 18. (Gracey Evans)

It’s critical that leaders and voters alike remember, as Spigelmyer and Bennett write, that “safe and responsible domestic energy development isn’t a Republican, Democrat or Independent issue” but one that “can continue to help create hundreds of thousands of American jobs, greatly improve our environment, and strengthen our nation’s standing in the world.”

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Allegheny Co. “Celebrating the Benefits” of Natural Gas Development at Pittsburgh Airport: Natural gas production has officially started on property at the Pittsburgh International Airport, according to Consol Energy executives and airport officials. Six wells are extracting natural gas from airport property and the Allegheny Co. Airport Authority will received 18 percent royalties on the gas, providing a big non-aviation revenue stream to cut costs at the airport. … “We are celebrating the benefits of it as we see our airport benefiting from reduced costs and increased service,” Allegheny Co. Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a news release. “Our region, as a whole, will continue to benefit with the start of production.” (Beaver Co. Times, 7/19/16)
  • Natural Gas Development Partnership “Presents a Larger Opportunity” for Airport, Region: Officials from Consol Energy and Allegheny Co. announced Monday the start of natural gas production at Pittsburgh International Airport, a partnership that has already helped the offset operational costs at the airport. … The partnership has helped reduce the airport’s per-passenger costs since the company made an initial lease payment of $46 million in July 2013. … “It’s an innovative approach at generating non-aviation revenue for our local airport,” said Tim Dugan, chief operating officer of Consol Energy. “We are now producing and seeing the benefits of the last two years worth of work.” … “It presents a larger opportunity,” Mr. Dugan said… “It is precisely because of this innovative partnership that we are able to keep the costs stable and lowering for the airlines,” Ms. Cassotis said. “The increase in non-aeronautical revenue is critical for our future.” (Post-Gazette, 7/19/16)
  • “Successful Commencement of Natural Gas Production”: Allegheny Co. Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny Co. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis, and CONSOL Energy COO Tim Dugan, announced Monday the commencement of natural gas production at Pittsburgh International Airport. 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 beginning of gas production is a significant event which will result in the first royalty payments from CONSOL to the Airport Authority, providing a critical non-aviation revenue stream to help further reduce fees to airlines. … “Since the initial lease was signed and upfront payment received, we have reduced fees to airlines to their lowest rate in eight years,” Cassotis said. “Innovative partnerships like this with a local, world-class company like CONSOL are key in helping attract air service.” (Release, 7/18/16)
  • CONSOL’s Airport Drilling Project Roughly the Economic Impact of Building 3 Heinz Fields: Consol Energy Inc. and the Allegheny Co. Airport Authority on Monday afternoon celebrated the beginning of natural gas production on Pittsburgh International Airport land, a deal struck in 2013 that could bring in hundreds of millions in royalties to the airport authority over the decades-long life of the deal. … [Consol COO Tim Dugan] likened the entire Consol airport drilling project to the economic impact of building three Heinz Fields. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny Co. Airport Authority, stressed that the revenue received — including the $46 million initial payment to the authority for the right to drill — has helped lower landing fees at Pittsburgh International Airport. That has helped to make the airport more attractive to new airlines wanting to serve Pittsburgh and the existing ones adding new flights. Landing fees per passenger are down from more than $14 in 2013 to $12.88, which is the lowest since 2008. Cassotis credited the airport’s five new airlines in the last 18 months and going from 36 to 57 destinations due to the Consol deal. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 7/18/16)
  • Gas and Royalties “Begin Flowing” at Pittsburgh International Airport: Natural gas is flowing on Allegheny Co. Airport Authority-owned land for the first time since Consol Energy and airport officials signed an oil and gas development agreement more than three years ago. … County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he believes the airport will collect between $500 million and $800 million during its 20-year lease agreement with Consol… The authority leased about 9,200 acres to Consol for oil and natural gas development in February 2013. Consol paid a $46 million up-front fee and promised 18 percent royalties on gas. Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said increasing the airport’s non-aeronautical revenue keeps costs low for airlines operating at Pittsburgh International Airport. That played a large role in the airport attracting five new airlines in the past 18 months, growing its destinations served to 57 from 36 and in driving home the message that Pittsburgh’s air service market is underserved. (Tribune-Review, 7/18/16)

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