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News Around the Oil Patch

Recent news items of interest:

Southwest Energy and Environmental Defense Fund Developing Best Practices for Hydraulic Fracturing.

         Scott Anderson, senior policy advisor for the Environmental Defense Fund, and Mark Boling, Executive Vice President of Southwestern Energy, have begun talks to bring together representatives of energy and environmental groups to propose uniform standards for best practices for hydraulic fracturing, in hopes that such standards will be adopted by states and give the public assurance of the safety of the completion technique.    The talks have resulted in a 40-page draft of proposed model regulations to be presented to state officials, covering public disclosure of frac fluid additivies, standards for casing and cementing wells, and pressure monitoring.  An inverview of Scott Anderson on the efforts can be found here.  “It is our obligation as an industry to let [the public] know what the issues and obstacles are and show them we are willing to work with environmental groups and state regulators to come up with solutions,” said Boling.

Dr. John Baen Paper on Estate Planning Opportunities for Mineral Owners.

     Dr. John Baen, a professor of real estate at the University of North Texas, has written a paper, “Contemporary Land, Oil and Gas Valuations, Estate Planning Opportunities, and Possible Strategies in the New Estate and Tax Environment,” presented at the recent meeting of Texas Land & Mineral Owners’ Association in San Antonio.  The paper can be found here:  John Baen Article.pdf

EPA Subpoenas Halliburton for Data on Hydraulic Fracturing

    The EPA has issued a subpoena to Halliburton to obtain a description of the additives used in its frac fluids.  Halliburton was the only one of nine oilfield services firms to refuse EPA’s request for information on the content of their frac fluids. Halliburton posted a response on its website, here. Halliburton has also announced an “eco-friendly” frac fluid that has additives “sourced entirely from the food industry.”

State Senator Wendy Davis Introduces Barnett Shale-Related Bills

     Senator Davis, D-Fort Worth, has introduced several bills for the 2001 legislative session aimed at issues in the Barnett Shale:

  • SB 102 – allocation of funds to monitor air quality in the region
  • SB 103 – to allow saltwater pipelines to be placed in state rights-of-way
  • SB 104 – to require operators to capture natural gas produced in testing the well instead of flaring it – “green completions”
  • SB 105 – to require that commercial salt water disposal wells be drilled to the Ellenburger formation or below
  • SB 106 – regulation of the condemnation of municipal property for pipelines, and municipal regulation of such pipelines
  • SB 107 – regarding Railroad Commission inspection of pipeline leaks and reporting results to municipal authorities

NY AG-Elect Opposes Hydraulic Fracturing

     The Attorney General-Elect of New York, Eric Schneiderman, has announced that he will oppose hydraulic fracturing in his state until it has been determined that it is a safe practice. See story here.

PA Board Approves Water Line, PA DEP Says Cabot to Pay For It

     A Pennsylvania board has voted to approve a six-mile water line costing about $12 million to provide water to residents of Dimock Township, PA.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection blames wells drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas for contaminating the residents’ groundwater, and has ordered Cabot to pay for the water line. Cabod denies that its wells are the cause of the contamination. See article here.

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