Monday, August 27, 2012

PA In Gas Big Leagues But With Minor League Production Reporting

The latest gas production reporting data for the most recent 6-month period from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that Pennsylvania's gas production is Big League, but Pennsylvania's gas production reporting practices are minor league.  The result was another round of national criticism from investors, the public, and the media about Pennsylvania's transparency.

The root of the problem is that major gas states routinely report production data every month. Except for Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania reports every 6 months, because state statutes forbid more frequent reporting.  To be clear, monthly reporting is not an option for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  Indeed, prior to 2010, reporting was even less frequent, but Pennsylvania's General Assembly changed the law to increase reporting frequency to every 6-months.

When Pennsylvania was in the minor leagues of gas production, not reporting data every month did not draw any attention.  But big production draws big attention.

Pennsylvania produced 783 billion cubic feet of gas from January to June 2012, an enormous number, and a 26% increase over the previous 6 months.

Times have changed.  The General Assembly needs to change the law to require monthly production reporting

Last week another source of criticism were snafus with the Chesapeake Energy data. The original data released last week did not include the production data of Chesapeake Energy that produced about 24% of the gas in the period.  No note was included by DEP to alert readers about the exclusion of the Chesapeake data.

Critics yelled about the absence of an alert to readers, even speculating about supposed ethical violations by DEP. That is hyperbolic and unnecessarily nasty. But next time that data is incomplete, a simple statement saying it is, and when data should be corrected, would head off avoidable bad publicity for Pennsylvania.


  1. I have long been frustrated w/ DEP reports/information regarding Marcellus oil & gas. It seems that the base problem is that DEP does not view itself as the gatekeeper for transparency. DEP maintained data (published and unpublished) including SPUD dates, permit details, well records, completion reports and production reports are nearly always incomplete and or riddled with errors. There are many producing Marcellus wells that have never shown up in a spud report for example. From the outside it looks like there has never been a clear mandate that the DEP is responsible for transparency. Curious to know your thoughts.

    More transparency is specifically needed for PA citizens in the development regions. Today it is common for a landowner with a lease in a drilling unit to have little or no information about the operations in their own drilling unit which has important implications for the lease.

    1. You make excellent points. I hope state government addresses them. It should.