SEC Ends Probe into Shale Gas Reserves (GDP, CHK, XOM, BHP, RRC, COG)

Independent oil and gas exploration and production company Goodrich Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: GDP) said this morning that it has received notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the agency has completed its investigation related to Goodrich's Haynesville shale gas wells and reserves, and that "no enforcement action has been recommended."

An investigation was launched in August 2011 by both the SEC and the New York State Attorney General. At issue was how the company estimated its reserves. Other companies with assets in the Haynesville play include Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and BHP Billiton PLC (NYSE: BHP), which paid $12 billion to acquire Petrohawk last year. Only Goodrich has so far announced an end to the SEC probe.

Chesapeake, Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG) and Goodrich all received letters seeking information on reserves in the Marcellus shale at about the same time last year. These might be a bit more contentious because last year the U.S. Geological Survey lowered its estimate of natural gas reserves in the Marcellus shale from 410 trillion cubic feet to a new range of 43 trillion to 144.1 trillion cubic feet. That means that companies will probably have to lower their reserve estimates if the estimates used the older USGS numbers.

Goodrich stock is inactive in premarket trading this morning. Shares closed on Friday at $13.62 in a 52-week range of $9.91 to $20.67.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Oil & Gas, Regulation Tagged: BHP, CHK, COG, GDP, RRC, XOM