A bill approved by the state House and Senate would change the way drillers report gas production figures. The measure now awaits Governor Corbett’s signature.
Under current state law, gas companies have to file reports twice a year with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). House Bill 2278 would require monthly production reports– a common practice among other major gas-producing states.
Transparency around gas production figures has become a sore point for some landowners who have questioned the accuracy of their monthly royalty payments. Since royalty checks are typically distributed on a monthly basis, it has been difficult for landowners to verify the information they receive from gas companies with the bi-annual gas data posted on DEP’s website.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (the statistics arm of the federal Department of Energy) has also said monthly reporting in Pennsylvania would make its job easier.
Gas production numbers are a self-reporting system and would continue to be under this bill. Although the DEP checks over the numbers, they are not formally audited. In the past, some significant errors have occurred. In 2012 Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy– one of Pennsylvania’s largest operators– submitted such error-ridden data to the DEP that it was rejected by the agency’s computer system. Although the problem was corrected, it temporarily threw off the gas production figures for the entire state.