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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rich pool: Now more than ever, tax Marcellus Shale

June 19--While lawmakers in Harrisburg debate how much or how little of a state impact fee to impose on Marcellus Shale drillers, the numbers that describe this booming gas enterprise continue to come with lots of zeroes.

Two weeks ago ExxonMobil closed on a deal to pay $1.69 billion for two local companies that are drilling in Pennsylvania. The oil giant, which appeared on a citizens advocacy group's recent list of large corporations that paid no federal taxes for at least one year in 2008-10, agreed to buy 317,000 acres from Phillips Resources of Warrendale and its sister company, TWP Inc. of Butler, at $5,300 per acre.

The big ticket price is testament to the lucrative payoff that is likely for investors in Marcellus Shale drilling. ExxonMobil, which knows the cost, risk and difficulty of exploring for oil around the globe, has hit upon an energy resource in Pennsylvania that is more of a sure thing.

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