Pa. leasing forest for gas drilling

July 14, 2008 9:10:12 AM PDT
State forestry officials say they will take bids from oil and gas companies interested in drilling on 74,000 acres in three state forests in northcentral Pennsylvania.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the lease sale Monday after it ended a five-year moratorium on new drilling earlier this year.

Eighteen different tracts are involved.

To win, a bidder must submit the highest money offer on the first year's land rental.

Successful bidders will be able to take a shot at a deep gas reservoir, the Marcellus Shale formation, some 6,000 to 8,000 feet underground.

The Marcellus formation is thought to contain large quantities of natural gas and is drawing the interest of exploration companies from Texas to Canada.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)