Pennsylvania's Impact Fee Will Generate More Than $200 Million
Note: the Public Utility Commission updated its list of impact fee revenue on Wednesday. Read the most recent figures here.
Pennsylvania has collected $197 million in impact fee revenue, and will take in nearly $206 million, once 23 energy companies pay the outstanding balances they owe the state.
The $206 million figure, released by the Public Utility Commission Monday afternoon, mirrors predictions StateImpact Pennsylvania made in February, when the $50,000-per-horizontal well payment scheme was finalized.
(Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how much fee money each company has paid.)
Drillers were required to submit impact fee payments to the Public Utility Commission by September 3. One week later, the agency released information about how much revenue it collected.
Chesapeake Energy had to cut the largest check: it paid $30.8 million for the 624 wells it drilled before January 1, 2012. Talisman Energy ($26.4 million), Range Resources ($23.7 million), Shell ($15.3 million), and Anadarko ($14.9 million) rounded out the rest of the top five. All of the companies except Shell have paid their fee in full, though Shell owes just $10,000.
In all, the state will collect payments from 58 companies. All but 22 have paid the full balance owed. Texas-based Carrizo Oil and Gas has the largest outstanding balance, at $3.05 million. The company says in a statement that it sent a check to the PUC via certified mail on September 6, adding the PUC does not accept wire transfers.
PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said the commission does, in fact, accept transfers, and many other drillers paid their fee that way.
Several companies are holding off on payments because they’re challenging their fee assessments. If you look at the table at the bottom of this post, you’ll see eight companies have outstanding balances of $10,000, and one has not paid $20,000. These are payments for smaller, vertical Marcellus Shale wells. The companies contend their wells do not produce the minimum fee threshold of 90,000 cubic feet of gas each day. “We have said that’s fine,” explained Kocher. “But you have to prove it to us that you’re not meeting those production levels. So we have some producers who are in the process of doing that, and that may fluctuate that number.”
Because of that fact, the commission will not publicize municipal and county-level fee totals until challenges have been resolved. The PUC will distribute money to state agencies and local governments by December 1. For a look at how much money each county can expect to receive, click here.
Kocher said the payment schedule will not be affected by the fact Commonwealth Court invalidated sections of Act 13, which established the fee. The court ruled the section of the law restricting local governments’ ability to zone and regulate drilling was unconstitutional, but let the rest of the legislation stand. “That ruling is still under appeal to the Supreme Court,” said Kocher, “but we have taken the viewpoint that the remainder of the law is still something that we are obligated to implement.”
Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber referenced the dispute in her statement, saying naturural gas drilling is giving state and local government “much-needed revenues for critical services,” but that the payments “[serve] as a stark reminder that we must ensure that we have common sense policies in place, especially local zoning uniformity at the center of Act 13, which encourage economic growth, job creation and additional revenue.”
The state Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on Act 13 for October 17.
View how much each drilling company owes, and how much each has left to pay, in this searchable table:
[spreadsheet key=”0AirC4nWDeIFTdElncFYxVDA3TGxscUpiNm9LNWtQTWc” source=”PA Public Utility Commission” sheet=0 filter=1 paginate=1 sortable=1]