Legislative Activity Update - Two Pennsylvania Bills, Including New Severance Tax Bill

The following already-introduced bill was acted upon by the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

PA House Bill 621     Requirements for recording oil and gas documents
Sponsor:Sandra Major (Republican – parts of Susquehanna and Wayne Counties [northeast Pennsylvania])
Overview:Requires that documents presented for recordation that contain or reference multiple leases include an addendum containing (1) the names of the lessor(s), (2) the prior recording information for the leasehold interest, and (3) the property with which each lease is associated.

Allows recorder of deeds to refuse, and his/her sole discretion, to record documents incorporating by reference or exhibit more than fifty (50) leases.

Defines “oil or gas document” as one which “transfers all or part of the interests of one party to another party in multiple oil or gas leases”
Current Status:Unanimously reported by House Committee on Commerce on April 20, 2015.

Referred to House Committee on Appropriations on May 12, 2015.

The following bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

PA House Bill 1142    Natural Gas Severance Tax
Sponsor:Margo L. Davidson (Democrat – part of Delaware County [outside Philadelphia])
Overview:Extensive natural gas severance tax bill imposing a tax of (1) “[f]our and seven tenths cents for each unit of natural gas severed measured at the wellhead meter,” (2) “[f]ive percent of the average market price … of each unit of the dry natural gas derived from the natural gas severed,” and (3) “[f]ive percent of the gross value of the natural gas liquids derived from the natural gas severed as shown by the gross proceeds derived from the sale by the producer.”

Sets a price floor of $2.97 per unit for purposes of calculating tax.

Prohibits producer from making the tax an obligation of the landowner or leaseholder.

Requires every producer to obtain a license from the Department of Revenue (“Department”) “before severing natural gas from this Commonwealth.”

Imposes criminal penalties for severing gas without a license from the Department.

Does not repeal or alter the Impact Fee, meaning that both the Impact Fee and the Severance Tax are payable by producers.

Alters distribution scheme for Impact Fee revenue.
Current Status:Referred to the House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on May 12, 2015.

This post was written by Jeremy Mercer (jeremy.mercer@nortonrosefulbright.com or 724 416 0440) and Michael Gaetani (michael.gaetani@nortonrosefulbright.com or 724 416 0429) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.