Thursday, September 03, 2009

If we have plenty of anything, it's wind and gas!

When we chose to move to this little area of north-central PA, Terry and I were taken by the ruralness, the small town flavor (in a town that has no "town" there), the friendliness of the folks we met, and the quiet. Living on a rural dirt road that leads only to state forest lands could--or I should say was--pretty quiet. At least until this spring.

Seems we live in "Energy Central."

There are 67 windmills being constructed along a road that runs the ridge to our south. Only three will be in our immediate area and they will probably be far enough away so as to be either invisible or silent. While the plans were presented to the public last year, not much happened aside from the necessary survey crews roaming the roads. Some of the windmills are already erected on the eastern end of the ridge. One or two even have their blades attached although they are no where near to going on the grid. Most of the others have had the sites prepared. An optimistic report in last Sunday's paper said they were hoping to have all 67 up and running by the end of the year. Right!

But wait! That's not all! At the top of the ridge where my street of residence forms a T with the road running east-west along the crest (sorta) of the ridge an old state forest road once headed south. Now it and the east-west ridge road look like four lane highways! Some of it has to do with the power lines for the windmills, but more has to do with natural gas. There's a pipeline that will head south to Tennessee from these here hills of PA. A big one. And it's drawing in from several directions along the ridge top before turning south.

"Why a gas line?" you ask.

Marcellus Shale my friend. There's gas beneath our feet here in the Twin Tiers of the PA/NY border. And they're drilling for it as fast as they can. Several places along Route 6 in Bradford and Tioga counties there are drilling rigs hard at work seeking the natural gas a mile or more beneath the surface. Just because you see a rig at work in a particular site doesn't mean it's confined to extracting what's directly beneath it either. Directional drilling will allow the energy company to put a root system of wells out from a single platform and extract gas from miles away.

The state has leased several sites on top of the ridge for drilling. Farmers and land owners in the valley have done the same. Many more of us have had folks knocking at our door asking about mineral rights and offering signing bonuses and royalties on the production. I'm sure the money has been a help to many a farmer. But some are finding they jumped at the offer too soon. (Like ten years ago.) They are locked into leases that are renewable by the signing company for a fraction of what is being offered now. Heck, I got an offer just a few months ago that was a fraction of what I was offered (and accepted) last week.

Our lease, stipulates no above ground construction (see directional drilling), runs for just five years and can be renewed or canceled at that time. The money isn't Jed Clampett type of stuff but it will ensure some financial security for the next few years without having to tap into our retirement accounts or early Social Security.

Almost makes up for all the damn construction trucks running up and down the hill every day starting at 0630. And the traffic congestion of all those construction trucks on Route 6--which itself seems to be under constant reconstruction somewhere in Tioga and/or Bradford county.


Rev. Paul said...

A five-year gas lease at today's prices? Good for you!

JihadGene said...

Sounds great!