Chesapeake fails to submit gas figures
HARRISBURG, Aug 18, 2012 (Menafn - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Several days after the biannual reporting deadline, it's unclear how much shale gas was produced in Pennsylvania during the first six months of 2012 because the state's largest producer did not properly submit its data.
A spokesman for Chesapeake Energy Corp. says the company -- which on the prior report had the largest yield of the 55 operators with producing wells -- had a technical issue in submitting its figures to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
All drillers operating Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania were required by Wednesday to submit figures for how much gas their wells produced between Jan. 1 and June 30.
A spreadsheet detailing those reports was posted on DEP's website late this week, but it did not indicate that a major gas producer was not included.
"The reports speak for themselves, and we share with the public what we have received," DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday wrote in an email.
Production statistics are a factor in how much money is raised from the new shale impact fee. Wells that do not meet a certain production threshold will not be subject to the fee.
The incomplete data posted last week appeared to indicate an increase in gas production over the prior six months, tallying 704 billion cubic feet of gas, up from the 630 billion cubic feet reported from July to December 2011.
The increase was smaller than the 40 percent boost recorded between the first and last six months of 2011.
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette analysis showed Bradford County in northeast Pennsylvania slipping from first place to second, with a production decrease of 59 billion cubic feet.
That figure likely will change dramatically once Chesapeake's data is included.
During the final six months of 2011, Chesapeake led statewide shale gas production with 112 billion cubic feet, or nearly 18 percent of the state total. Of that, 80 billion cubic feet was produced in Bradford County, where the company accounted for nearly half of local output.
In an email, Chesapeake spokesman Rory Sweeney did not respond to questions about how much gas was produced during the recent reporting period.
"Chesapeake submitted its biannual production report to the PA DEP by last week's deadline; however, a technical issue encountered during the online uploading process prevented it from being reported on the publicly viewable database," he wrote. "Subsequently, Chesapeake delivered the data through email and is working with the department to ensure it is uploaded to the database as soon as possible."
The twice-a-year production reports, which also are required in mid-February, and their publication online was mandated by the General Assembly in 2010. Previously, companies reported their production figures to DEP annually, but those reports were confidential for five years.
The law does not outline any penalties for failing to report gas production.
Chesapeake wasn't the only company with previously producing wells that were absent from the new list. Wells for Antero Resources, Enervest, Guardian Exploration, Novus Operating, Penn Virginia Oil & Gas Corp., Stone Energy Corp. and William McIntire Coal Oil & Gas could not be found on the DEP list.
Some producing wells from other companies, including Phillips Exploration Inc. and Mountain V Oil and Gas, were listed under different companies due to new ownership arrangements.
Mr. Sunday, of the DEP, could not confirm Friday afternoon whether Chesapeake had properly resubmitted its figures or when an updated list may be available.
"We are working to ascertain the companies who we believe had an obligation to file and gather an understanding as to why they have not filed," he wrote.
Harrisburg Bureau chief Laura Olson: email@example.com or 1-717-787-4254.
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