Shale-drilling fees fall by 3 percent

Posted: April 05, 2013

Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale drilling fee revenue fell by 3 percent to $198 million last year because of lower natural gas prices, according to figures released Wednesday by the Public Utility Commission.

Gas companies were assessed an impact fee of $45,000 for each of the 1,357 new horizontal wells drilled in 2012. In 2011, first-year wells were assessed an annual fee of $50,000.

The impact-fee law provides for the levy to decline if the price of natural gas goes down, said Jennifer Kocher, the PUC's spokeswoman. The fees go down each year a well is in service. All told, the state is collecting fees from 4,920 unconventional wells.

About half the money will be distributed to local communities. - Andrew Maykuth

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