Today, Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drillers will file the first monthly production reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The Unconventional Well Report Act states that operators of unconventional wells shall file with The DEP a monthly report specifying the amount of production on the most well-specific basis available.
The law also states that “the initial report under this act shall be filed by March 31, 2015, and specify the status of each well. In subsequent reports, only changes in status must be reported. Subsequent monthly reports shall be filed with the department within 45 days after the close of the reporting period and shall include production data from the preceding reporting period.”
This is a major change from the previously used system whereby the data was collected by the state Department of Environmental Protection twice a year. The new regulations bring Pennsylvania in line with other major gas-producing states.
Monthly production reports, while cumbersome for the drillers, will no doubt be welcomed by landowners, who complained that with bi-annual reporting it was difficult for them to check the accuracy of their royalty payments. Since royalty checks are typically distributed on a monthly basis, it has been difficult for landowners to compare the information they receive from gas companies with the data posted on DEP’s website, which represented six months of production.
Under the new law, drilling companies will continue to self-report their production levels and the numbers will not be audited, although the DEP does check over the numbers periodically for errors.
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