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More production cuts possible in Europe’s Groningen gas field due to earthquakes

Authorities in the Netherlands have proposed more production cuts in the Groningen gas field, Europe’s largest, in response to earthquake concerns. The cuts would limit production by another 10%, in addition to cuts that have already taken effect, with intent to further reduce the number of earthquakes occurring in the country’s north. For decades, the … Continue reading

UK High Court dismisses challenge to fracking planning permission

On 12 April 2017, the High Court dismissed a judicial review application challenging the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to allow fracking in Lancashire. As reported in our blog of 22 November 2016, community group ‘Preston New Road Action Group’ (PNRAG) brought the application for judicial review … Continue reading

Challenge to UK planning permission for fracking

Community group ‘Preston New Road Action Group’ (PNRAG) has taken further action to challenge the government’s decision to allow fracking of shale gas at a site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire (the Plumpton Site). As reported in our blog of 21 October 2016, PNRAG sent a letter before action last month to the Secretary of State … Continue reading

Green light for more UK exploratory shale gas wells

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee (the Committee) has approved plans to drill the county’s first exploratory shale gas wells. The approval which permits drilling two wells to explore the rock geology near Misson was approved by a majority of seven votes to four. Island Gas Ltd (IGas) submitted its planning application for the … Continue reading

Community Group challenges UK Government’s fracking decision

As reported in our blog post dated 7 October 2016, the Government recently ‎overturned Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking at a site near Little Plumpton in Lancashire. The appeal was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 October 2016 allowing the appellant, Cuadrilla, to carry … Continue reading

UK shale: fracking looks set to be part of the future

In a landmark decision, the UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid (the SoS), has overturned the decision of Lancashire County Council (the Council) to refuse planning permission to extract shale gas at a site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire (the Plumpton Hall Farm Site). Planning applications submitted by the oil and … Continue reading

UK Shale Wealth Fund- payments direct to affected households

Plans for a Shale Wealth Fund were announced in last year’s autumn statement with proceeds expected to be shared between community trusts and local authorities. However, the Shale Wealth Fund Consultation launched on 8 August 2016 includes the possibility of funds being paid directly to local residents in host areas. It is proposed that communities … Continue reading

New fracking rules enter into force – England & Wales

Overview On 6 April 2016 regulations came into force setting out areas to be excluded from fracking and providing for a number of safeguards for onshore fracking in England and Wales. What areas are excluded from fracking? The Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2016 set out areas to be excluded from fracking as “protected … Continue reading

UK Task Force Approves Fracking

On December 15, 2015, in a two-page report, a group of experts coined the “UK Task Force” issued their “Final Conclusions and Recommendations,” approving the safety of further drilling and exploration for shale gas in the United Kingdom. Based on a year of research into the potential “positive and negative” impacts of shale exploration and drilling, … Continue reading

Drilling down into fracking

Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (“fracking”) is a controversial issue worldwide – simultaneously condemned as a harbinger of environmental pollution and earthquakes, and promoted as the solution to dwindling conventional energy resources. In the UK (estimated in the 2010 British Geological Survey to hold 74bn-148bn cubic metres of potentially recoverable reserves of shale gas), the … Continue reading

First attempt to frack in Yorkshire met with five-year moratorium from Ryedale District Council

On October 9, 2015 the Ryedale District Council (RDC) voted in favor of a five year moratorium on fracking. Currently, the gas appraisal and development company Third Energy has an application pending to frack an existing well in the area to see if further development would be commercially viable. Ryedale is the largest district in … Continue reading

Northern Ireland bans fracking

The Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment, Mark Durkan, published a planning blueprint banning hydraulic fracturing in the region. The planning blueprint, which provides guidance for Northern Ireland’s 11 councils, consolidates multiple existing planning policies to create a single Strategic Planning Policy Statement (SPPS) for use by local planners. The SPPS declares that “in relation … Continue reading

Second edition of the Shale Gas Handbook released by Norton Rose Fulbright

On June 25, 2015, Norton Rose Fulbright released the second edition of the Shale Gas Handbook. Almost two years ago, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers, realizing that the unconventional oil and gas phenomenon was having various results all around the world, came together to create the inaugural edition of the Shale Gas Handbook. The Shale Gas … Continue reading

Germany approves bill restricting hydraulic fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States have increased dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, hydraulic fracturing is also growing in other countries. Germany, however, appears to be taking a different approach. Recently, Germany’s cabinet approved a draft of a bill that would restrict hydraulic fracturing operations in the country. Fracking in Germany will be … Continue reading

Do UK regulatory changes signal large-scale shale gas exploitation?

The 14th onshore licensing round closes on October 28, 2014 for both conventional and ‘unconventional’ oil and gas exploration, including shale gas. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) expects about 50-150 unconventional licences to be awarded in the round. There is general consensus across industry and Government that a more streamlined regulatory … Continue reading

Web seminar: Legal lessons learned in shale plays in North America

With North America leading the way in shale oil and gas production, interest is mounting globally in the unconventional hydrocarbon sector. On Wednesday, September 17th , we will host a web seminar on Legal lessons learned in shale plays in North America, which will look at the key legal issues that have arisen in North … Continue reading

Poland considers changes to its hydrocarbon licensing scheme (Part 2 of 2)

Under both the current law and the proposed Act, the Ministry of the Environment has authority to grant and limit licenses. Under the Act, however, the Minister of the Environment has a stronger and more authoritative regulatory role. For instance, the Minister is obliged to commence proceedings to withdraw licenses under certain conditions. Conditions include … Continue reading

Poland considers changes to its hydrocarbon licensing scheme (Part 1 of 2)

Poland’s parliament is considering amendments to its Geological and Mining Law that will change its hydrocarbon licensing regime. Submitted for consideration by the Polish Government in April 2014, the Hydrocarbons Act (the “Act”) and Hydrocarbons Tax Act will change the regulatory landscape governing both conventional and nonconventional hydrocarbon production. The Act introduces changes in the … Continue reading

Report prepared by UK Parliament Committee urges development of natural gas and the use of hydraulic fracturing

On May 8, 2014, the House of Lord s Economic Affairs Committee strongly endorsed the United Kingdom’s development of shale gas resources and the use of hydraulic fracturing in its report entitled “The Economic Impact on UK Energy Policy of Shale Gas and Oil.” Successful development would provide substantial economic benefits, reduce imports, and help … Continue reading

Shale gas projects are absent in EU’s updated EIA

On March 12, 2014, the European Parliament (EU) supported a proposed update to make environmental impact assessments (EIAs) clearer, to ensure that EIAs take into account biodiversity and climate change, and to involve the public via a central web portal. Approximately 200 types of projects are covered in the directive, including bridges, ports, roadways, and … Continue reading

European Commission issues recommendation for hydraulic fracturing

On January 22, 2014, the European Commission adopted a Recommendation on the “minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing.” The Commission “invites” the 28-member states of the European Union “to apply the principles” so that hydraulic fracturing is done safely and without confusion over different … Continue reading

Spain amends environmental rules to encourage energy development

On December 11, 2013, the Spanish government amended its environmental rules to address the development of shale resources and to limit the environmental review process to six months. Spain’s review process often took three, four or five years to complete a final environmental impact statement. With the shortening of the review process period to six … Continue reading

Public Health England releases draft study of health impacts from shale gas extraction

Public Health England (PHE) is an agency under the UK’s Department of Health tasked with ensuring that the public is protected from infectious disease and environmental hazards. In October 2013, PHE released for public comment its draft Review of the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of … Continue reading
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