Drilling bids in Pa. good sign for Tier

Southern Tier residents looking to cash in on natural gas under their land received promising signs from Pennsylvania this week.

Five out-of-state companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., bid between $1,151 and $5,837 per acre for the right to take gas from under state land in northern Pennsylvania. The bids on 74,000 acres will produce $190 million in revenue with the potential of hundreds of millions more in royalties.

The companies are interested in tapping the Marcellus Shale, the same gas-rich geological formation that extends under the Southern Tier. Residents see it as further evidence of the economic potential of the gas industry being developed in the heart of the Appalachian basin and working its way northward.

"It's pretty encouraging," said Marchie Diffendorf, who heads a coalition of Kirkwood residents drafting terms to deal with gas companies. The coalition, working with attorney Chris Denton, is tailoring leases for about 350 people who own between 10,000 and 11,000 acres combined.

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