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DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2011/12/25 6:39
From pittsburgh
Posts: 0

Associated Press
PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection undercounted the number of wells producing gas from the Marcellus Shale, frustrating industry, environmental groups, and elected officials, according to a newspaper report.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that an analysis of DEP data found 495 more wells producing gas, or ready to produce gas, than the DEP has recorded as ever being drilled, and that 182 of those wells don't even show up on the state's Marcellus Shale permit list.

The discrepancies with DEP's Marcellus Shale data have caused headaches for Senate and House staff members who have been trying to make accurate projections about how much revenue an impact fee on wells might generate for local governments, the newspaper reported Sunday.

"There has been a frustration over the last six or seven months that DEP does not have information that is always beyond reproach," said Drew Crompton, chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson.
Crompton, who has tried to make sense of DEP's data as the Senate began crafting an impact fee bill last year, said the information problems are so befuddling that it helped delay approval of the bill. Legislators simply haven't been able to get accurate projections on the financial impact.

"Every time I think I've got something locked down, it changes," said Crompton, who discovered the same data issues that the Post-Gazette did.

The paper reported that the data problems span both the Ed Rendell and Tom Corbett administrations.

Data collection and reporting errors were "something identified through the transition period in the first few months" of Corbett's term as governor in early 2011, said DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday. "And it's one we hope to clear up and get more consistent at.

"We acknowledge that there are issues in both how the data is presented and how it's coming in," Sunday told the paper.

Vast stores of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation under Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia have set off a rush to grab leases and secure permits to drill using the extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking involves the high-pressure injection of millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemical additives, to liberate gas from the earth. Environmental advocates have complained about fracking's effects on drinking water, while the industry insists the practice is safe.

The DEP says that since 2007 there have been about 4,200 wells drilled in Pennsylvania, so the 495 missing wells is about a 12 percent error rate on data that are widely quoted by politicians, environmentalists and the industry.

"That's a significant error rate," said Bruce Stauffer, vice president of geographIT, a Lancaster-based company that provides geographic information services to industry and governments.

His company also ran into the same problem with the DEP's data when last year it began putting together Marcellus monitor, the company's interactive mapping tool that it sells to companies and governments.

"It's obvious DEP's data isn't clear and accurate," Stauffer said. "Why? I don't know. And I don't think they have the answers."

Posted on: 2012/1/18 18:53

Edited by pabowhunter14 on 2012/1/18 19:20:09
Edited by pabowhunter14 on 2012/1/18 19:23:48

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
Posts: 605
and people wonder why some of us want to slow this all down so we can get a hold of it and get the proper regs, rules, and procedures in place.

Posted on: 2012/1/18 20:24

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2006/9/13 23:35
From SW PA
Posts: 24
By the time the DEP gets it figured out the drilling boom will be over!


Posted on: 2012/1/18 21:47
Resized Image Catch & Release

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2006/9/14 20:03
Posts: 25
There's no doubt some problems with the DEP data base. For one, we shouldn't be calling it Marcellus shale, its actually a half dozen different shale layers. Devonian shale would be more inclusive and less confusing. In addition, PA still has a conventional O&G industry. It been in decline but with the price of oil, its not going away. So that further confuses things.

And the reel kicker is PA, unlike any other state, allows operators to withhold production data for 3 years. Most states only give 30-90 days. So at any point in time, there's 3 years worth of producing wells that haven't reported in yet. If you want to find the permit and drilling records, you're going to have to look back at least 4-5 years. So 500 sounds about right for Devonian shale gas.

Torture the data enough, and it will say anything.

Posted on: 2012/1/18 22:25
One cannot step twice in the same river - Heraclitus

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2011/7/24 7:01
Posts: 0
PA is still using a paper database and at the same time transitioning to an electronic database. Just because some beancounter in Harrisburg doesn't quite have all of the data doesn't mean that field inspectors aren't out there inspecting and overseeing these same wells. It is the news reporter that doesn't understand that you don't just snap your finger and a government system is changed overnight. That is wishful thinking.

Posted on: 2012/1/19 4:51

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 631
I'm not surprised.

Posted on: 2012/2/17 18:01
George Orwell warned, "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."

Re: DEP data missing nearly 500 gas wells

2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 356
a few of the wells they have put in here, i am still mapping them hard to keep up.

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Posted on: 2012/2/20 5:52

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..

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