HARRISBURG -- An updated set of biannual shale gas production figures show Chesapeake Energy Corp., which failed to properly submit its data by last week's deadline, again leading Pennsylvania's gas extraction during the first six months of 2012.
The new figures available on Tuesday show the Oklahoma-based company's wells accounted for nearly 24 percent of the state's shale gas yield between January and June.
Chesapeake wells -- which are located primarily in Bradford County in northeast Pennsylvania, but also in Beaver and Washington in the southwest -- produced 189 billion cubic feet of gas, an increase of about 40 percent compared to the last six-month report.
Production across the state also continued to increase, topping 793 billion cubic feet during the first half of the year. That increase, however, appears to be at a somewhat slower rate than before.
Exact comparisons are difficult to make because the state Department of Environmental Protection continues to update figures after each official reporting deadline in February and August.
The agency's initial data for the second half of 2011 showed 606 billion cubic feet of gas extracted statewide, while the updated figures available this week for that time period show 631 billion cubic feet.
Those figures showed production increasing by at least 40 percent. In comparison, state data on the first half of 2012 indicate a boost of between 25 and 30 percent.
Adding in Chesapeake's 321 wells, which weren't counted in last week's initial data release, boosted figures in Bradford County in particular, where early data showed production plummeting dramatically. With those wells factored in, Bradford still saw a slight drop to become the state's second-highest gas-producing county, behind Susquehanna County.
Rounding out the top-five producing counties are Lycoming, a northeastern drilling hot spot where the town of Williamsport is located, followed by Washington and Greene counties.
Beaver County also joins the ranks of gas-producing counties on the new report. One Chesapeake-owned well there in the town of South Beaver is listed as producing 505 million cubic feet of gas.
Shale gas production figures have been reported every six months since the fall of 2010. The data is posted on the DEP's website.
A spokesman for Chesapeake said last week that a technical error prevented the company's data from being posted by the Aug. 15 deadline.
While the drilling impact fee to be collected next month is based primarily on how many wells have been drilled, the semiannual production statistics also are a factor in determining whether an individual well is part of that count.
Vertical shale wells with production that doesn't exceed a certain threshold are exempt from the fee. A similar exception will exist for horizontal wells that produce at a low rate for three years.state - marcellusshale
Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: email@example.com or 1-717-787-4254.