Laflin, PA-based coal company Silverbrook Anthracite has leased approximately 1,635 acres for Marcellus Shale gas exploration in Lackawanna County, PA, to a Texas land services firm in what county officials are calling the largest such lease ever recorded in the northeastern Pennsylvania county.

The lease of six parcels of property in October was done by Silverbrook Anthracite to Davis Land Services, a Fort Worth, TX-based land services company that has been serving the oil and gas industry for more than 30 years. The leases are for property located in the townships of Archbald and Carbondale in Lackawanna County.

Efforts to reach Vincent Kassa, the president of Silverbrook Anthracite, or a representative of Davis Land, were unsuccessful.

The lease carries only a one-year primary term, meaning a driller chosen by Davis Land would have until October 2011 to produce gas from the Marcellus Shale below the property. After that, the lease could be offered to another company.

A poll conducted in Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district about the time the lease was signed showed that public opinion “is largely supportive” of Marcellus Shale development, with 50% of respondents indicating it would be beneficial to their community (see Shale Daily, Oct. 8, 2010).

Only 28% of respondents said Marcellus Shale development would be detrimental to their community; 22% said they had no opinion on the issue, according to researchers at Lycoming College’s Center for the Study of Community and the Economy (CSCE). The researchers polled 370 likely voters in the state’s 10th congressional district, which includes all or parts of Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

The researchers said 54% of respondents had previously signed natural gas leases or knew someone who had done so.