Pennsylvania gas drilling fee revenue slides in 2019

Pennsylvania

A crew works on a drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas on Monday, June 25, 2012 in Zelienople, Pa.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Lower prices for natural gas last year will mean a 21% drop in drilling fee revenue for Pennsylvania’s state programs and county and municipal governments.

That’s even as production grew from exploration in the vast Marcellus Shale reservoir.

The Independent Fiscal Office projected Wednesday that impact fee collections for 2019 will be $198. That’s a nearly $54 million drop from 2018, but still above 2016’s low point of $173 million.

Payments are due by July 1, and the money largely stays in drilling communities.

With 2019 production in Pennsylvania headed to a record 6.8 trillion cubic feet last year, the Independent Fiscal Office says the effective tax rate of the fee fell to 2.1%.

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