Southwestern Energy Production Company was recently required to pay $50,000 to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for violating the commission's regulations in Wyalusing Township, a spokesman for the commission said.

The violation occurred at a natural gas well pad in the township "on or about Jan. 8," said Susan Obleski, director of communications for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

Southwestern started certain construction activity at the well pad without having first secured a permit from the commission, she said.

"Prior to obtaining our approval they initiated construction activity, including the installation of a well conductor pipe," she said.

The installation of the pipe, which is used to move water, needed prior approval from the commission, she said.

"All water-related construction activities (at these kinds of) sites need to have prior approval from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission," Obleski said.

Under a settlement agreement between Southwestern and the commission, which was approved by both sides, Southwestern was required to make a $50,000 "payment in lieu of a penalty" to the commission, Obleski said.

The commission approved the settlement last Thursday at their regular quarterly meeting in State College, Pa., she said.

The commission has a regulatory role over gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, due to the large amount of water used in the drilling.

Southwestern Energy Production Company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Attempts by The Review to obtain comment from Southwestern Energy for this story were unsuccessful.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.