Cabot royalties top $1B

Cabot spokesman George Stark announces that the company surpassed the $1 billion mark in royalty payments to Susquehanna County leaseholders in 10 years of operation in the county. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Cabot spokesman George Stark announces that the company surpassed the $1 billion mark in royalty payments to Susquehanna County leaseholders in 10 years of operation in the county. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Local landowners have received over $1 billion in royalties from Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. since the Houston, Texas, natural gas company drilled its first well in Dimock Twp. in September 2006.
The announcement was made at a luncheon with county and municipal leaders, as well as representatives for organizations Cabot has partnered with in the past decade of doing business in Susquehanna County.
Cabot Divisional Superintendent B.J. Cline said, “This is something special.”
“It’s not that the Marcellus Shale is so abundant here, or that we have 17 of the top 21 wells – it’s the relationship with the local people. It’s a true team effort,” Cline said.
Cabot has 557 wells that have produced 3 Tcf. “And we haven’t even scratched the surface,” Cline said.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said, “We are living in an incredible time here in Susquehanna County – truly incredible.”
“But you don’t have an economic impact if you are not partnering with the community,” Stark said.
He noted the $4.4 million in funds Cabot helped to raise for the construction of the physician’s clinic at Endless Mountains Health Systems, as well as a $2.5 million endowment at Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas. In addition to those monies, over $6 million has been donated to community organizations, and $754,000 awarded to educational programs through EITC tax credits.
Revisiting the announcement of royalties paid to leaseholders, Stark asked those in attendance to pause. “One billion dollars. That’s one company, in one county. It’s astronomical,” he said.
Although it took 10 years to reach the $1 billion mark, Stark believes it won’t take another 10 years to achieve the next billion paid to leaseholders as pipeline construction moves forward.
“The pipeline will be the next piece to take this to the next level,” Stark said.
But Stark said he doesn’t believe Harrisburg or Washington, D.C., has a sense this is occurring.
But royalty-owners pay the state 3.07 percent on royalties received. “That’s $30.7 million the state has seen from landowners,” Stark said.
Landowners also receive bonus money for signing leases – that has totaled $417 million Cabot has paid to lease land.
Stark said that six months ago Cabot had one rig operating in the county and, with the increase in natural gas prices, has increased that to two rigs.
Tony Ventello, of the Progress Authority which manages the day-to-day economic development activities in the county said the “multiplier effect” of Cabot and the industry, in jobs created and the impact to businesses, could not be ignored.
County Commissioner Alan Hall said the impact fee has allowed the county to give property owners $5 million in property tax relief since its implementation; and how utilizing those funds for the current courthouse construction project has avoided future tax increases.
Jessup Twp. Supervisor Dennis Bunnell said the township used to borrow funds every year to make payroll. “When I think about where we came from to where we are today…” with new equipment, an updated park and walking trail, and the township is debt free.
Hall said, “You can’t put a dollar amount on it. Before gas, we watched farm after farm fall by the wayside – farms that had been in families for generations were split up and sold off. This has helped farmers keep their farms and reinvest in them.”

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