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 Handbook is a one of a kind, one-resource book that members of the oil and gas industry can turn to for questions about unconventional shale oil and gas drilling, production and hydraulic fracking. Since the launch of the first edition, there have been a number of exciting changes both in the United States and around the world. Continue reading

Colorado voters reject Proposition 112

On November 6, Proposition 112 failed 58 percent to 42 percent. The measure needed 50 percent to pass. After a contentious and expensive campaign, voters derailed the measure that posed drastic implications on future oil and gas development in the state.

Proposition 112 would have expanded existing setback requirements from 500 feet to 2,500 feet from homes, schools, hospitals, and “vulnerable areas.” If Proposition 112 passed, Colorado would have approved the country’s largest mandatory buffer zone between new wells and homes. Proposition 112 would have made future oil and gas development on nonfederal land within the state nearly impossible.

The groups in opposition of the measure like Protect Colorado, funded almost exclusively by the oil and gas industry, spent nearly 43 times more money than the groups backing the measure like Colorado Rising. Colorado Rising spokesperson Anne Lee Foster said the group was “excited that almost 800,000 Coloradans voted for a safer distance from drilling and fracking despite a massive opposition campaign.”

Dan Haley, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said “we’re grateful Coloradans saw this for what it was, which was an attempt to run oil and gas out of the state.” But, Haley reiterated he wants “every Coloradan to know we are committed to developing our resources in a responsible manner that protects our environment and keeps our employees and community healthy and safe.”

A Colorado Rising representative told the media it’s too soon to say whether the group will take the setback issue back to the ballot box. But, Foster told the media “this is not going away.” Colorado Rising added we have “momentum we will continue to build upon.”

Industry executives are aware this issue did not permanently go away when voters rejected Proposition 112. The executives do not want a replay in 2020 of this year’s ballot fight. In fact, industry executives said they are willing to talk to any reasonable group about proposals to resolve this issue.

For continuing coverage of this and other stories, subscribe to the Hydraulic Fracking Blog.

Survey of fracking ballot measures

Below is a survey of fracking ballot measures across the country. Colorado is the only state that has fracking measures on the upcoming November ballot. But, Florida has an offshore drilling prohibition that encompasses offshore fracking, and San Luis Obispo County, California also has a fracking ban on their ballot. Michigan and Columbus, Ohio were unsuccessful in their efforts to include fracking bans on their ballot. Continue reading

Colorado voters face opposing oil and gas measures at the ballot box this fall

On November 6, the Colorado ballot box will present voters with opposing oil and gas measures, Proposition 112 and Amendment 74. Both measures could have major conflicting implications on the state’s oil and gas development. Continue reading

High Court rejects legal bid to prevent fracking in Lancashire, UK

The High Court has refused to grant an interim injunction preventing Cuadrilla from carrying out hydraulic fracking operations at the Preston New Road site in Lancashire. The ruling means that Cuadrilla can resume fracking in the UK for the first time since 2011.

Mr Justice Supperstone also refused permission for judicial review of Lancashire County Council’s decision over the adequacy of the risk assessment and emergency planning procedures.

Continue reading

Ineos granted permission in UK Green Belt for exploratory shale gas drilling

Ineos has been granted planning permission on appeal for exploratory shale gas drilling in the Green Belt, near Rotherham.

In May 2017, petrochemical firm Ineos sought temporary permission for a period of five years for a shale gas well, access track and ancillary facilities at Common Lane, Harthill near Rotherham. Ineos claims that the site has been chosen because it is within an area of interest based on existing seismic data. Continue reading

PA Superior Court revives trespass claim against fracking company

Last Monday, a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court revived a trespass claim against a fracking company. The claim, which was previously defeated by summary judgment, could return to the trial court for determination of its merits.

In 2015, plaintiffs filed suit against the fracking company alleging trespass and conversion. Plaintiffs claim the company used hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas beneath the plaintiffs’ property, where the company did not have a lease, from an adjacent tract on which it had a lease. Continue reading

Study observes possible links between hydraulic fracturing wastewater injection and seismic activity in Kansas

A new study published this month purports to link seismic activity in Kansas to wastewater disposal associated with hydraulic fracturing. Justin Rubinstein, the lead researcher, suggested that further research was needed to examine the effects of wastewater injections, stating that this study was “the tip of the iceberg as far as what we’re going to learn.”

The study examined ongoing seismicity in two counties in southern Kansas from 2013-2016, observing correlations between increases in seismic activity subsequent to increases in wastewater disposal via deep-injection wells. Additionally, seismic activity appeared to decreased at the same time as economic and regulatory forces reduced wastewater injection. Analyzing over 6,845 earthquakes, the study also identified six earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater in Kansas since 2012, the first such earthquakes in the state. Continue reading

Controversial study attempts to link fracking to poor infant health

Last month, in an article published in the journal Science Advances, economics professors at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Los Angeles attempted to link fracking to low birth weight. The study is controversial, and has been criticized since its publication.

Over the course of ten years, Janet Currie, Michael Greenstone, and Katherine Meckel, the authors of the study, analyzed 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania, where fracking is common. They concluded that living within 1 kilometer of a fracking well while pregnant increased the odds that one’s baby would be born with a low birth weight by 25%. Continue reading

Cuadrilla discovers ‘sizeable quantity’ of UK shale gas as UK anti-fracking case is rejected

On January 12, 2018, exploration and production company Cuadrilla announced that it has recently discovered a “very sizeable quantity” of shale gas at its Bowland site in Lancashire (the Site).

Cuadrilla revealed it has drilled to a depth of 2.7km at the Site and to date has recovered 375 feet of core samples. When combined with data gathered from existing shale exploration wells, this has left the company optimistic as to its ability to “drill two horizontal wells…in gas rich zones”. This is complemented by the “excellent” rock quality in the vicinity. These properties are believed to make the site “very suitable to hydraulically fracture”.

Continue reading

BLM to rescind 2015 fracking rule

Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) announced that it will publish a final rule to rescind a 2015 regulation requiring companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing.

Decried by both the BLM and oil and gas trade associations as costly and duplicative of existing regulations, the repeal of this rule marks the final nail in the coffin for a legal battle that began over two years ago. Continue reading

LexBlog