Topic: Hydraulic fracking

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Newfoundland & Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel Release Report

The Canadian Province of Newfoundland & Labrador mandated an independent panel to conduct a public review and advise the Minister of Natural Resources on the socio-economic and environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing in Western Newfoundland. The panel has now issued its report. In November 2013 the Province imposed a “pause” in processing approvals of hydraulic … 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

Study shows fracking linked to earthquakes in western Canada

According to a study described in the March 2016 edition of the journal Seismological Research Letters, hydraulic fracturing is linked to most induced earthquakes in the Western Canadian sedimentary basin. The study looked at data for 12,289 wells which had been hydraulically fractured, 1,236 waste water disposal wells and magnitude 3 or larger seismic events … Continue reading

That’s a lot of Gas!

Up to 425 trillion cubic feet. That’s a lot of gas. A new joint study by Canada’s National Energy Board, British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission, the Northwest Territories’ Geological Survey and the Yukon Geological Survey estimates that shales in Canada’s Liard Basin could contain up to 425 tcf of marketable natural gas, which is … Continue reading

New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Publishes Recommendations

The Canadian Province of New Brunswick presently sources the majority of natural gas it consumes from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, but its production is slowing. The Frederick Brook shale is thought by some to contain vast reserves but it has yet to be drilled because in December 2014 the Government of New Brunswick placed … Continue reading

Sierra Club files earthquake lawsuit and Oklahoma regulators issue disposal injection reduction plan

Sierra Club makes induced seismicity claims against energy companies in federal lawsuit under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Days after a 5.1 magnitude quake shook Oklahoma on February 13, 2016, a federal suit claiming induced seismicity was filed. Sierra Club v. Chesapeake Operating LLC, et al., No. CIV-16-134-F, (W.D. Okla. filed Feb. 16, 2016). The suit, … Continue reading

State funding triggers TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program

The TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, under the auspices of the University of Texas, is getting going, fueled by $4.5 million allocated by the Texas Legislature, with two new hires and seismographic equipment soon to be deployed.  The new project manager for TexNet is Alex Savvaidis, who operated a similar program in Greece.  Peter Hennings, a former ConocoPhillips structural geologist, will … Continue reading

DOI proposes methane and waste reduction rule

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, proposed a rule developed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) that would limit the flaring, leaking and venting of natural gas on public and tribal lands.  The reported purpose of this proposed rule is to cut down on methane emissions and prevent waste of natural gas.  … Continue reading

Political controversy surrounds peer-review attack on EPA fracking study

On January 7, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) released a 133-page draft report recommending EPA soften its “landmark” findings that hydraulic fracking does not lead to “widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water resources in the U.S.” This rebuttal comes on the tail of similar studies finding that hydraulic fracking does not contaminate drinking water. The … Continue reading

Oklahoma residents sue 12 energy companies over quakes

On January 11, 2015 Oklahoma residents from Edmond and Oklahoma City filed suit against twelve energy companies, alleging that the defendants caused or contributed to seismic activity, though no scientific evidence is cited. Felts, et al. v. Devon Energy, et al., No. CJ-2016-137 (Okla. Cnty. Dist. Ct. filed Jan. 11, 2016).  Plaintiffs assert negligence and strict … Continue reading

Quakes in Oklahoma and Canada highlight changing legal parameters for operators

Edmond, Oklahoma experienced a 4.3 magnitude quake December 29 amid a swarm of quakes the state experienced that day.  Chimneys and contents of shelves purportedly tumbled to the ground, and 4,400 individuals lost electricity.  The Oklahoma Corporation Commission continues to develop a response to the complex phenomenon, noting January 1 that “the initial review of … 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

Earthquakes tracked by state authorities and public with new tech

Seismic activity last week near Dallas grabbed attention in the Twittersphere, despite its low magnitude, reflecting the increasing trend of earthquake monitoring through social media and new technologies.  The USGS, which tracks ground shaking through user-generated reports on its “Did You Feel It?” site, posted one of the seismic events last week within a mere … Continue reading

Florida house fracking bill passes second subcommittee

H.B. 191, a Florida bill that would facilitate fracking throughout Florida recently gained approval in the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. Since this is the second subcommittee it has passed, the bill is poised to be debated by the entire House in Florida’s upcoming January legislative session. So far, opposition from the bill has come from … Continue reading

Seismic activity in Oklahoma results in new injection volume plans for wells near Crescent and Cherokee

On Friday, November 20, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued volume reduction plans for areas near Crescent and Cherokee that experienced seismic activity last week.  These plans are the latest in a series of similar measures taken by the state to control injection volumes of produced water and wastewater in various areas. The Crescent area plan … Continue reading

Wall Street Journal assesses induced seismicity liability debate

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal added to the debate over induced seismicity with an online opinion piece entitled, “Should Oil Firms Be Held Liable in Earthquake Lawsuits?” Law professor Blake Watson at the University of Dayton took the position that oil and gas companies should be held strictly liable if underground fluid injection causes … Continue reading

Texas railroad commission rejects claims that injection wells cause seismic activity

Earlier this year, the Texas Railroad Commission (Commission) required that XTO Energy Inc. (XTO) and EnerVest Operating LLC (EnerVest) show cause as to why the two companies should be permitted to continue their drilling operations in the Barnett Shale. The Commission’s request was triggered by a Southern Methodist University study that suggested that the injection … Continue reading

Sierra Club threatens to sue oil companies over frackquakes

The Sierra Club is threatening to sue four oil companies over allegations that their wastewater disposal operations caused hundreds of earthquakes in Oklahoma. In their notice of intent to sue, published on November 2, the Sierra Club claims that the oil companies are violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, a federal law that governs … Continue reading

Canadian think tank’s research shows concerns about hydraulic fracturing as excessive

Canada’s Fraser Institute has published a Research Bulletin following a review of recent research into the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. In Managing the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing: An Update, the argument is made that although there are indeed risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, they are for the most part readily manageable with available technologies … Continue reading

Alberta to consider water management pilot in the Duvernay

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is considering a pilot project in Alberta’s Duvernay shale basin in response to increased public concerns about cumulative effects, water conservation and groundwater protection associated with hydraulic fracturing. The Duvernay regulatory pilot project is expected to look at alternatives to fresh water sources of water, water transportation and storage, and … Continue reading

USGS says frackquakes a “red herring”

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough recently commented that the link between fracking and earthquakes is “a red herring.”  The statement was issued in conjunction with the release of a study by the USGS finding that deep underground injection to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas operations has had a long and vaunted history … Continue reading

Yale study in PA calms fears about contamination of water resources from hydraulic-fracturing activities

A recent Yale study debunked fears about contamination of Pennsylvania’s water resources by hydraulic fracking. The three-year-long study revealed that hydraulic fracturing is not the cause of contaminated drinking water in the Marcellus Shale. Instead, the study traced the contamination to above-surface activities. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Yale researchers analyzed 64 samples of groundwater gathered … Continue reading

Canada water network identifies knowledge, gaps and opportunities for water and hydraulic fracturing

The Canadian Water Network (CWN) has released a paper on water and hydraulic fracturing that summarizes what is known about water and hydraulic fracturing in Canada, what is most needed to be known and what areas should be targeted for research. The CWN is a group of academics from major Canadian universities that connects water … 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