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Pickett Fights for More Clarity, Transparency for Marcellus Lease Holders
10/15/2014
HARRISBURG – Two proposals that will bring greater clarity to holders of leases within the Marcellus Shale drilling areas have passed the state Senate and will be on the governor’s desk shortly, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), author of the legislation.

The first bill that was approved by the Senate and sent on for final approval would give natural gas lease holders greater information with respect to their well production. House Bill 2278 would allow holders of leases for unconventional wells to access timelier production reports, as the bill would require well operators to file monthly reports to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), rather than the semi-annual reports now required.

“Monthly reporting will give lease holders timelier information about the production of their wells, and that is important so that they can keep accurate track of their monthly royalty payments and ensure they are receiving proper value from their wells,” Pickett said. “This legislation is all about greater transparency for our property owners, and I’m pleased to see it advance to the governor.”

The first reports would be due by March 31, 2015, and would only apply to unconventional gas drilling within the Marcellus Shale.

The second bill would require a formal method for the expiration of natural gas leases, in an effort to clear up confusion if a landowner wishes to engage in another lease with another drilling company.

“This is yet another piece of pro-consumer legislation that would outline a better process for when an oil or natural gas lease ceases,” Pickett explained. “Right now, the end of a lease could cause confusion about whether or not the property owner could engage with other drilling companies and has caused considerable delays in trying to develop the resources under their property.”

House Bill 402 would require oil and gas producers who are party to an oil or natural gas lease to deliver a recordable surrender document to the owner of the oil/gas not more than 30 days after the termination, expiration or cancellation of a lease. The legislation would state that such surrender document would include a statement indicating that the lessee surrenders all of its interests under the lease, and would be recorded by the county recorder of deeds.
 
The legislation, which is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, would also contain stipulations for failure to provide a document or any dispute about the termination, expiration or cancellation of a lease. Similar requirements exist in New York, Kansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Once presented to the governor, he has 10 days to sign both measures into law.

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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