SUBSCRIBE NOW
$1 for 3 months. Save 97%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
$1 for 3 months. Save 97%.

Pennsylvania gas drilling fee revenue rebounded in 2017

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG – Rebounding prices for natural gas and a growth in new wells exploring Pennsylvania’s vast Marcellus Shale reservoir are fueling a recovery in fee revenue for state programs and county and municipal governments.

FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2011, file photo, a drilling rig is set up to tap gas from the Marcellus Shale gas field, near a barn in the Susquehanna County township of Springville, Pa. Natural gas producers drilled more than twice as many shale wells in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year. One big reason is that natural gas prices have recovered from 20-year lows, nearly doubling since last year. Three counties, Washington, Greene and Susquehanna, account for more than 60 percent of the wells drilled so far this year. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Independent Fiscal Office projected Wednesday that impact fee collections for 2017 will be just above $219 million, $46 million more than 2016’s low point of $173 million.

The rebound breaks a string of three years of declining revenue. The Independent Fiscal Office says the increase is largely due to the average annual price of natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange passing $3, which triggered a $5,000 per-well increase.

More: Natural gas tops coal, but its reign might be short

The office also says 812 new wells were started, making 8,634 wells subject to the fee. Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 2 natural gas state behind Texas.