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North Dakota approves flare reduction recommendations

The North Dakota Industrial Commission adopted several recommendations from the Department of Mineral Resources to reduce the amount of flaring in the state. These recommendations were based on work of the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) Flaring Task Force that was formed to study ways to increase the capture of flared gas. In December 2013, … Continue reading

Michigan Court of Appeals holds that a well completed using hydraulic fracturing is not an injection well

Several Michigan citizens and the group Ban Michigan Fracking questioned the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) about its definition of “injection well” in Mich. Admin. Code , R. 324.102(x), urging that the definition should include wells completed with hydraulic fracturing (“frack wells”). The DEQ responded by stating that “a frack well is not an injection … Continue reading

Kansas Governor creates panel to study possible connection between recent earthquakes and oil and gas activities

Governor Sam Brownback has created a 3-person task force to study whether oil and gas activities such as hydraulic fracturing are connected to the increased number of minor earthquakes occurring in south central Kansas, near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The Kansas Geological Survey has recorded more than 24 minor earthquakes in the past two years. Two … Continue reading

Emergency order requires testing and classification of crude oil transported by rail

On February 25, 2014, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an emergency order requiring rail shippers of crude oil to test the crude’s makeup before shipping it and to classify the crude as Packing Group I (high danger) or Packing Group II (medium danger) hazardous material until further notice. The DOT’s emergency order recognizes … Continue reading

What’s shaking? Induced seismicity

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has long studied and prepared hazard maps predicting the risks of natural earthquakes. Now the USGS plans to integrate information relating to induced earthquakes and potentially induced earthquakes into its National Seismic Hazard Map. Since its last earthquake map in 2008, the USGS has identified a “remarkable” spate of earthquakes … Continue reading

US DOT discuss transport safety issues with oil and rail industry leaders

With the recent December 30, 2013 derailment of tanker cars carrying oil in Casselton, North Dakota, as well as other 2013 incidents  in western Minnesota, Baltimore, Alabama, and at three sites in Canada (Gainfield, Landis, and Lac-Mégantic, where 47 people were killed when  an unattended 72-car freight train derailed in the center of town), the … Continue reading

Safety alert relating to flammability of North Dakota Bakken crude oil transported by rail

On December 30, 2013, near the town of Casselton, North Dakota, a westbound train carrying grain derailed. Within minutes, an eastbound 106-car train transporting Bakken crude oil hit the derailed train. The collision caused eighteen oil cars to leave the tracks and catch fire. While no one was hurt, many of the town’s 2,400 residents … Continue reading

House Democrats request hearing on induced seismicity

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, issued a letter to their Republican counterparts requesting a joint hearing on the issue of seismic activity induced by the underground injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing activities. In … Continue reading

President Obama promises to veto hydraulic fracturing bill and other energy-related legislation

On November 20, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives approved two energy-related bills – one bill concerning hydraulic fracturing regulations on federal lands (H.R. 2728) and the second relating to applications for permits to drill (H.R. 1965). Two other energy bills are pending, one dealing with the permitting of natural gas pipelines (H.R. 1900) and … Continue reading

Illinois and California issue proposed administrative rules to implement hydraulic fracturing legislation

In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn approved hydraulic fracturing legislation on June 17, 2013. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released proposed administrative rules to implement this legislation on November 15, 2013 – Proposed Administrative Rules for the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and Proposed Administrative Rules for Seismicity to monitor Class II UIC wells receiving … Continue reading

International Energy Agency predicts that the US will become world’s top energy producer in 2015 but will relinquish that position by 2020

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which was formed in the 1970s to keep track of trends and improve energy security, released its World Energy Outlook 2013 in London on November 12, 2013. The 2013 Outlook provides a review of key trends that IEA believes will shape the future of global energy through 2035. For the … Continue reading

Sixth Circuit upholds “fair market value” agreements in Ohio oil and gas leases

From 2008 to 2010, numerous landowners in eastern Ohio entered into oil and gas leases with Anschutz Exploration Company, which were later assigned to Chesapeake Exploration LLC. These leases contain a “Preferential Right to Renew” or a “fair market value” provision (Paragraph 14 in the lease). This clause provides that, “[i]f, at any time during … Continue reading

North Dakota mineral owners file ten class actions relating to royalties owed for flaring natural gas

Ten class actions were filed in North Dakota by mineral owners alleging lost income due to the flaring of natural gas by various oil and gas producers. According to a July 2013 report by Ceres, the flaring of natural gas in North Dakota has doubled in the past two years.The lawsuits allege that  the producers … Continue reading

Michigan to tighten Its hydraulic fracturing rules

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) plans to strengthen its hydraulic fracturing rules by adding provisions to protect water resources and to require additional chemical data submissions. This announcement comes after roughly 200 public meetings held since 2011 and attended by the DEQ.  Michigan’s current fracturing rules went into effect on June 22, 2011 … Continue reading

Ohio advises drillers to comply with EPA chemical reporting requirements

In September 2012, the Ohio legislature passed regulations requiring oil and gas well operators to report the contents of fracking fluids, recycling fluids, and wastewater to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. These reporting regulations went into effect on September 11,2012, and require the disclosure of the trade name and volume of all “products, fluids, … Continue reading

University of Michigan’s Technical Reports on Hydraulic Fracturing in the State

On September 5, 2013, the University of Michigan released seven technical reports concerning hydraulic fracturing.  These Michigan-focused reports conclude the first phase of a two-year University project entitled Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment. Public comment on these reports may be submitted through October 7, 2013. A brief description of each report follows. Technology: In view … Continue reading

Fracking disclosure rules proposed in Kansas

The director of the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (KCCOGC) has proposed rules that would require oil and natural gas companies to disclose non-trade secret chemicals that they use in hydraulic fracturing activities. Pointing out that the physical act of hydraulic fracturing has been regulated for years under Kansas’ wellbore construction and … Continue reading

Illinois’ new hydraulic fracturing regulations

On June 17, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law hydraulic fracturing legislation that is possibly the strongest in the nation. The Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (S.B. 1715) (the “Act”) went into effect immediately and is being enforced by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The … Continue reading

Ohio voters reject proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in northeast Ohio

In February 2013, the City Council of Youngstown, Ohio agreed to include on its ballot a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits after an anti-fracking organization, Frackfree Mahoning Valley, collected sufficient signatures for a successful petition. The unofficial results of the election held on May 7, 2013 show voters rejected this proposal … Continue reading

USGS assesses undiscovered oil resources in Bakken and Three Forks Formations

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed a geology-based assessment of the oil and gas resources of the Bakken and Three Forks Formations, located in North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota, finding that these formations together hold an estimated mean of 7.38 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, and 0.53 … Continue reading

Pending hydraulic fracturing bills in Illinois legislatures

Currently there are four bills pending in the Illinois legislatures relating to high volume hydraulic fracturing activities. One bill creates the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, two bills would ban fracking, and one requires fracking regulations to be added to the Illinois Oil and Gas Act. All of these bills are currently in committees. House … Continue reading

Flowback fluid recycling regulation in the Marcellus Shale

This is the second article in a series of blog posts evaluating the current status of flowback and produced water recycling regulations in the major shale play states. These waters are generated through the hydraulic fracturing process, and this blog post continues the discussion of the manner in which these waters are disposed. The Marcellus … Continue reading

Illinois Lawmakers Propose Fracturing Legislation

On Thursday, February 21, two Illinois State Representatives proposed a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing in the state. The proposed legislation, House Bill 2615, was prepared after months of negotiations between lawmakers, the oil and gas industry, and environmental concerns. The bill includes a number of additional requirements for the oil and gas industry but … Continue reading

Ohio Governor Seeks Radiation Testing Requirements For Oil and Gas Waste

On February 12, 2013, Ohio Governor John Kasich introduced his two-year, $63.2 billion budget, including a provision that would require drillers of oil and natural gas to test their drilling waste for radiation before disposal in Ohio landfills. The budget proposal, introduced as Ohio House Bill 59, was developed by the Ohio Departments of Health … Continue reading
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