Following a few reporting snafus in its biannual oil and natural gas production report released in August, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has added a click-through disclaimer notice on the Marcellus Shale production section of its website noting that the agency “expressly disclaims any liability for errors or omissions related to the production data” contained within the reports.
The DEP received a wave of criticism from energy analysts this past summer over the way it handled production reports when the initial release omitted data from Chesapeake Energy Corp., Talisman Energy Inc. and SWEPI LP due to problems with their submissions; several smaller producers were not represented because they were late in reporting. The production from Chesapeake, the state’s top producer, was originally left out due to technical problems, while Talisman’s numbers were omitted after it submitted its production figures in gallons, not the required barrels (see Shale Daily, Aug. 22). SWEPI, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, was also originally left off the report due to reporting errors.
Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act requires unconventional well operators to submit production reports to the DEP biannually — on Aug. 15 for the period of Jan. 1 through June 30 for the same calendar year and on Feb. 15 for the period of July 1 through Dec. 31 of the previous calendar year. All other oil and gas operators are required to submit production reports on an annual basis on Feb. 15 for the previous calendar year.
The DEP said it makes “every practical effort” to post these reports as soon as possible after they are filed. However, the data can be hard to corral because the Oil and Gas Act reporting is a self-reporting system, meaning that data is reported from well operators to DEP as required by law. The DEP said it does not independently verify the data it receives before it is posted.
In the new disclaimer notice posted on the DEP website, the agency said “while the Oil and Gas Act requires accurate and on-time data reporting by producers, and the producers and DEP endeavor to correct any errors discovered after the data is posted, DEP makes no claims, promises or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the operators’ data that DEP is required to post.”
Further, the DEP “expressly disclaims any liability for errors or omissions related to the production data contained within these reports. No warranty of any kind is given by DEP with respect to the production data contained within these reports posted on its website.”
The fourth iteration of the DEP’s August report, which was issued in late August to include data from Chesapeake, Talisman and SWEPI (see Shale Daily, Aug. 27), indicated that natural gas production from unconventional wells totaled 894.8 Bcf during the first six months of this year. The figure included Marcellus wells along with some targeting the Utica Shale and other formations. Operators also reported producing 672,550 bbl of condensate and 49,194 bbl of oil from January through June.
The data showed that a Chesapeake subsidiary was atop the list in terms of production and wells permitted, and Bradford County remained the locality to host the most production. The DEP listed 8,673 permitted wells in the latest production report, but only 2,874 (33.1%) recorded any production.
The DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management has annual oil and gas production reports dating back to 2000 available for download from its website. The first Marcellus-only report covered a 12-month period from July 2009 to June 2010. Subsequently, the DEP released Marcellus-only reports that covered three six-month periods: July-December 2010, July-December 2011 and January-June 2011. However, the fourth six-month report, which covered January-June 2012, included all unconventional wells and is not broken down by shale/tight gas and oil plays. The DEP said the change was mandated by Act 13, the state’s omnibus Marcellus Shale law. Accordingly, the latest biannual report includes about 40 wells targeting the Utica Shale.
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