More than half of the natural gas drillers operating in the Marcellus Shale missed the deadline to report the production levels of their wells, which is a violation of state law, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announcement Friday.

DEP Secretary John Hanger said 41 of the 74 oil and gas companies operating in the Marcellus Shale, or 55%, failed to submit reports on the past 12 months of production by the Aug. 15 deadline. By Aug. 26 nine other companies had made post-deadline filings, leaving 32 companies still without reports.

"When the General Assembly approved this law and the governor signed it, they did so because they believed this requirement provided much-needed transparency into the industry's operations," said Hanger. "The fact that so many companies failed to meet the deadline for providing this information is troubling. We plan to follow up with each noncompliant firm and pursue whatever enforcement action is necessary to get them to follow the law."

The public can track a Marcellus operator's compliance with Act 15 production reporting requirements online at www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/OGRE_production/Marcellus_Report_Submissions_8-26-10.xls, the DEP announcement said. The site includes a complete list of operators that did not submit production reports by Aug. 15. The list will be updated on a weekly basis as production report submissions are made. The list of the Marcellus operators that submitted production reports on time is also provided.

The new law, Act 15 of 2010, required gas companies drilling into the Marcellus formation to report production totals from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 by Aug. 15. Subsequent to this deadline, companies will be required to report production every six months, making the next report due Feb. 15. Prior to Act 15, DEP was required by law to keep production reporting data confidential for five years.

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