Drilling Fees Fall Off

Warren County will receive less money this year under Act 13, the law establishing the fees for natural gas drillers throughout the Commonwealth, due to the declining scale of payment and the decreased price of natural gas.

Natural gas companies in Pennsylvania will pay $204.4 million in Act 13 fees for wells drilled in 2012, a slight decrease from the $204.2 million drillers throughout the commonwealth paid the year before.

Warren County will receive $47,885.83 in fees $13,183.29 for the 27 municipalities and $34,702.54 for the county. That’s a decrease of $5,241.26 from last year’s allocation of $53,127.09

Act 13 links the fees drillers pay to the price of natural gas, and a drop in that price saw the fee decrease by about $5,000. Gas prices fell from $4.03 per thousand cubic feet in 2011 to $2.78 in 2012, according to the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

“The price of natural gas was lower so each well paid less into the total pot of money that would be distributed,” said Jennifer Kocher, a spokeswoman for the PUC.

There were 1,352 new wells drilled by gas companies in 2012. The majority were horizontal wells and were assessed at $45,000; 4,920 wells drilled before 2012 were charged $35,000.

Warren-based Pennsylvania General Energy paid a total of $4,802,000 on 125 horizontal wells and one vertical well to the PUC, up from $4,170,000 on 83 horizontal wells and two vertical wells the year before.

Act 13 distribution fees for Warren County’s 27 municipalities, according the PUC, were:

Bear Lake Borough $14.91

Brokenstraw Township $7,466.23

Cherry Grove Township $68.64

Clarendon Borough $33.60

Columbus Township $324.88

Conewango Township $963.67

Deerfield Township $253.88

Eldred Township $450.38

Elk Township $94.83

Farmington Township $650.52

Freehold Township $641.47

Glade Township $210.64

Limestone Township $168.31

Mead Township $133.14

Pine Grove Township $272.66

Pittsfield Township $7,296.47

Pleasant Township $564.61

Sheffield Township $502.10

Southwest Township $379.40

Spring Creek Township $615.01

Sugar Grove Borough $45.85

Sugar Grove Township $765.66

Tidioute Borough $57.26

Triumph Township $300.88

Warren City $717.01

Watson Township $65.35

Youngsville Borough $379.07