There was only one problem with the state Department of Environmental Protection's recent report assessing Marcellus Shale gas drilling activity in Pennsylvania.
It was missing data from Chesapeake Energy, one of the top natural gas producers in the state, or so it's been said. Chesapeake says it submitted its data in time to be in the report.
So that skewed the production numbers bigtime for the industry. Which means reports of a mass exodus of the industry from Pennsylvania are greatly exaggerated. Which means those interested in investing in Pennsylvania are hesitant based on incomplete data.
While Chesapeake should have gotten its information to DEP by the Aug. 15 deadline, the agency should have at least mentioned in its report that the data was incomplete without information from a major producer.
And DEP should be requiring data every month, like all the other major oil and gas-producing states, instead of every six months.
That would give investors and others who could get involved with Pennsylvania's economy more frequent information and a more adequate basis for making important decisions.
There should be a new report issued including the Chesapeake numbers, the state should move to monthly reporting, and future reports should include all the major oil and gas companies or a disclaimer when those are missing.
The Pennsylvania gas drilling picture needs to be complete, not a puzzle with a glaring hole in the middle.