Here are the gas producers that paid the most impact fee last year

Paul Gough
Pittsburgh Business Times

There'll be less money this year from the state's impact fee on natural gas drilling as lower prices and the pandemic hit the industry hard. There was $146.25 million collected from the impact fee in 2020, down $54 million from the $200.3 million the impact fee brought in for 2019. It's also the lowest amount of impact fee receipts since at least 2014.

The steep drop was due to the smallest amount of new wells drilled since the impact fee was authorized in Act 13 in 2011. The price of natural gas, which determines what is paid, was also down with the average price at $2.08 per million British Thermal Units compared to $2.63 the year before.

EQT Corp. (NYSE: EQT), the state's and nation's largest natural gas producer, paid the most in impact fee during 2020 with $25.2 million based on its wells and production. Next was Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), which paid $17.6 million followed by Chesapeake Appalachia (NYSE: CHK), which brought in $14.1 million.

The rest of the top seven were:

4. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG), $13.7 million.

5. Seneca Resources Corp., $12.1 million.

6. Southwestern Energy Corp. (NYSE: SWN), $10.3 million.

7. Repsol Oil & Gas USA LLC, $7.3 million.

The impact fee is split between the state and the counties and municipalities that have natural gas drilling. The counties will receive $71.5 million, down from $109.2 million they received for 2019.

The top county was Washington County, which will receive $4.5 million. Susquehanna will receive $4.1 million with Bradford ($3.4 million), Greene ($3.2 million) and Lycoming ($2.3 million) rounding out the top five. Butler is No. 7 with $1.5 million. Washington has the most wells with 1,892, compared to 1,724 in Susquehanna and 1,498 in Greene.

Among municipalities, Greene County's Center Township has the largest amount of wells in the state with 260. It will receive the most money for a municipality with $755,840.

"While our industry was certainly impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic, this tax further demonstrates how all Pennsylvania communities and families share in the many benefits of responsible natural gas development," said Dave Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.