Range Resources' battle with the Lipskys and Alisa Rich continues, now in a confusing appeal of the trial court's order denying the Lipskys' and Rich's motion to throw out Range's counterclaim under the Texas law prohibiting so-called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPPs. http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/02/4745433/appeals-judges-return-range-suit.html
Earthquakes and Disposal Wells
Earthquakes caused by disposal wells continue to make the news.
RRC figures show that wastewater pumped into disposal wells in Texas increased from 46 mllion barrels in 2005 to nearly 3.5 billion barrels in 2011.
Oil Spill Trial
The huge trial to determine liability for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues. The judge threw out all claims against Cameron, the maker of the blowout preventer on the well, finding no evidence to support any claim against it. http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/04/03/gulf-oil-spill-judge-throws-out-remaining-claims-against-cameron/
Here is a good article from the Washington Post explaining the facts and politics of the Keystone Pipeline. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/04/03/the-keystone-xl-pipeline-and-its-politics-explained/
CSSD Performance Standards
A coalition of exploration companies and environmental organizations has created a new orgainzation and published performance standards for drilling and fracturing horizontal wells in the Marcellus. The new organization, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, includs as partners the Environmental Defense Fund, Chevron, the Clean Air Task Force, Consol Energy, Shell, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and others. The Center's website is http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/. Its new performance standards are here: http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/CSSD-Performance-Standards-3-27-GPX.pdf They include best practices for protecting water resources and eliminating use of fresh groundwater and surface waters in hydraulic fracturing; recycling of flowback and produced water; use of closed-loop systems for drilling fluids; best practices for casing and cementing of wells; reduction of venting or flaring of gases in the drilling process; emissions standards for pumps and motors used in drilling. Other companies are being encouraged to sign onto the goals of the standards. See http://www.forbes.com/sites/raphaelbostic/2013/04/04/the-marcellus-agreement-please-frack-responsibly/
In West Texas, companies are increasingly using brackish water for fracing.
There are increasing complaints about air quality in the Eagle Ford.
And confusion reigns among Texas groundwater districts about if and how to regulate groundwater pumping for frac water.
Meanwhile the Obama administration has issued new proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands:
The Top Five Facts Everyone Should Know About Oil Exploration
Another good article from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/04/03/what-are-the-top-five-facts-everyone-should-know-about-oil-exploration/ Did you know that about 40% of all seaborne cargo is oil? Also see http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2010/02/16/a-primer-on-energy-and-the-economy-energys-large-share-of-the-economy-requires-caution-in-determining-policies-that-affect-it/
Exxon Oil Spill in Arkansas
A reminder that oil pipelines sometimes break:
Basses Sue Chesapeake for Unpaid Royalties
Chesapeake seems to be trying to get out of its debt problem by refusing to pay royalty owners what they are owed.
Texas Railroad Commission
Commissioners at the Texas Railroad Commission seem to have problems getting along with each other. http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/03/26/bickering-erupts-among-texas-oil-regulators/ But they did pass new rules intended to make it easier for companies to recycle frac water. http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2013/03/27/company-that-recycles-fracking-water.html?ana=twt