Currently, the production reported by operators in Pennsylvanian and more specifically the Marcellus Shale is not released to the public by the Department of Environmental Production (DEP) for 5 years. Yes, that is correct – 5 years. While every state has varying degrees of data lag, Pennsylvania is definitely at an extreme with the additional 5 years.
The current laws in Pennsylvania governing reporting production volumes are very close to a big change. On March 10th, the House passed a bill with a vote of 195-0 proposing changing the confidential period for oil and gas reporting for Marcellus wells only from 5 years to 6 months. The senate had unanimously approved the bill months earlier but the House made a change so it will be sent back to the Senate for another vote. It is expected to pass and be sent to the Governor to sign. In addition to the change on the confidential period, the bill proposes that operators report on a semi-annual bases, versus the current annual bases, and the DEP would be required to make the reports available on its public website. If passed the new reporting practices would begin November 1, 2010.
This news is very exciting to the industry because as it stands now it is difficult to get a current economic assessment of the Marcellus play without current production volumes. And while this bill still leaves something to be desired with the semi-annual reporting time period and not requiring monthly volumes, it is definitely a huge step in the right direction. This is also exciting news for the DI ESP team because we would be able to provide more comprehensive analysis of the Marcellus to our clients, similar to how we analyze other unconventional US plays. For now we are waiting with our fingers crossed and we will provide updates as they come in.
To read the proposed bill with the amendments and other regulatory information visit the Marcellus Regulatory, Environmental Info folder in the DI Unconventional Updates.
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