KEVIN BEGOS,Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The federal government wants to provide more frequent oil and gas production reports for Pennsylvania and other states that have seen a boom in drilling in recent years.
Federal officials want to add monthly production estimates from Pennsylvania and 11 other states. Pennsylvania currently reports on production every six months, while Ohio and West Virginia report once a year.
Details of the proposal are still being worked out but a boom in production suggests a need for such data, U.S. Energy Information Administration spokesman Jonathan Cogan said Monday. He didn’t immediately have a list of states other than Pennsylvania that might be included in the monthly reports, which are currently issued for gas production in Texas, Louisiana, Alaska and a few others.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a leading industry group based in Pennsylvania, said Monday that it supports the proposal.
“No one should have to wait six months” to get production information, said Kathryn Klaber, the group’s president. “We certainly support EIA’s desire to have Pennsylvania be where other states are in terms of more frequent reporting.”
For decades Pennsylvania produced only modest amounts of oil and gas, so monthly reports weren’t needed.
But a boom in oil and gas drilling led to soaring production in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and other states, and investors as well as critics have asked for more timely details of the billions of dollars of yearly production. The Marcellus Shale, which covers parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York, is now the most productive shale gas field in the nation.
An industry newsletter also supports the EIA plan.
Will Brackett, the managing editor of the Fort Worth-based Powell Shale Digest, said they “absolutely” want more information on shale oil and gas production.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection collects and publishes production data, as do state agencies in Ohio and West Virginia. Pennsylvania DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said the agency has no comment on the EIA proposal. The EIA gets such data directly from drillers, so the states wouldn’t have to change anything under the plan.
The EIA collects, analyzes and publishes large amounts of energy-related data.
But states would continue their own efforts since they use the data to calculate fees and taxes. The EIA monthly reports are just estimates based on a sampling of major producers, not all the drillers in a state.