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New York Property Tax on Shale Gas Wells Like almost all states with oil and gas

production, New York has a property tax on gas wells. 1 Like other property taxes, the beneficiaries are the counties, townships and school districts where the gas is produced. The appraisal methodology is administered by the Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS), and is similar to that used in Texas. 2 The appraised value is based on the income stream expected from the well in Texas, the discounted cash flow: 3 ORPTS attempts to summarize the value in a Unit Production Value (UPV) as a multiplier of the gas produced. Both methodologies are dependent on valuing the income based on the production history. In a conventional gas well with a relatively flat decline curve, estimating its value can be done more precisely. In a horizontally hydrofracked shale gas well, the rapid decline of the wells production makes valuation problematic. Decline Curves of Major Shale Gas Formations

Ths The first years production can account for up to 75% of the total production of the well. In New York, the gas production is self reported by the producer. It is not clear that the ORPTS or the DEC has the staff necessary to actually verify these numbers in the field. Those production reports are in turn given to the local county and the township assessors who are responsible for doing the appraisals. Any lag - from the self reported numbers

to the report from ORPTS to the local appraisers will delay the appraisal process. The ORPTS has yet to establish a UPV valuation for horizontally hydrofracked shale gas wells. Ironically, this is not how gas producers value their properties. Gas reserves are valued by the companies for their shareholders under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. A valuation is made based on proven developed (producing wells), and proven undeveloped reserves meaning the value of the gas in the ground, including gas that has not been drilled for. Banks loan based on similar valuations. Yet the property tax valuation represents a fraction of the total value of the gas, since it is only valuing gas from producing wells. Recommendations Institute a Severance Tax In most oil and gas states, with the notable exceptions of New York and Pennsylvania, the gas produced is taxed at the wellhead via a production or severance tax. Such a tax is paid directly to the state, who may remit a portion to the counties and municipalities impacted by drilling. As a practical matter, a severance tax is the only effective way that the value of a horizontal shale gas well can be fully taxed since the tax calculation starts as soon as the well begins producing and the valuation can be much more straightforward than the UPV multiplier. New York needs to correct that short-coming in its tax code. Consult with Professional Appraisers The ORPTs should establish a valuation method for horizontally shale gas wells based on advice from oil and gas appraisal firms. Such firms are routinely hired by taxing authorities to do complicated appraisals. 4 Streamline and Expedite the Appraisal Process The ORPTS should review its procedures from the way it secures and verifies production data to the time the local appraisal is made and taxes are collected. Impose Impact Fees on the Producers Some wells will not produce. Drilling will negatively impact roads, bridges, water and air quality regardless of the productivity of the well. The state should impose an impact fee to pay for some of these costs.