The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
PA Superior Court Affirms Ruling to Reform Deed Due to Mutual Mistake of Parties
On October 18, 2016, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the lower court’s order and ruled for reformation of a deed for land to include a reservation of all oil, gas, and mineral rights. (George v. George, Pa. Super. Ct. 2016) Patrick George had sold to his aunt and uncle, Anthony and Suzanne George, property located in Washington County. The agreement of sale for the property included a reservation of the oil, gas, and mineral rights. However, the general warranty deed conveyed the land in fee simple with no reservations. The lower court held that there was a mutual mistake and that the intent of the parties included a reservation of the oil, gas, and mineral rights, a holding which is now affirmed.
White House Task Force Issues Final Report on Natural Gas Storage Safety
On October 18, 2016, the Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety released their report with recommendations for new safety procedures. The Task Force was created by the White House as a response to the Aliso Canyon facility natural gas leak in 2015. The report recommends that gas storage operators evaluate the status of their wells and establish risk management plans. The report also calls for better understanding of the potential risks and advanced preparations to promote a coordinated response to emergency situations.
New Guidelines Issued by EPA for Oil and Gas Emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency issued new non-binding Control Techniques Guidelines (CTGs) on October 20, 2016, regarding volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from oil and gas processes. These new guidelines offer recommendations for state agencies to assist them in the reduction of VOC pollution. The CTGs recommend technologies and approaches that are “widely available at a reasonable cost” and can reduce venting of natural gas during the drilling process.
EIA Releases October Drilling Productivity Report
On October 17, 2016 the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its Drilling Productivity Report with estimates for November’s oil and gas production. According to the EIA, overall oil production is expected to decrease in the major shale plays from 4.46 to 4.43 million barrels/day. In addition, U.S. gas production is also supposed to decrease from 46.13 to 45.96 billion cubic feet/day.
Dakota Access Pipeline Equipment Damage Caused by Arson
As reported by Reuters, on October 22, 2016, equipment used for the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline was purposefully set on fire. The Dakota Access Pipeline is intended for the transport of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. There was approximately two million dollars worth of damage done to the construction equipment. There are currently no suspects.
Memorandum of Understanding Signed Between Gazprom and India
On October 15, 2016, the global energy company, Gazprom announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Gazprom and the Director of Engineers India. The agreement outlines the intent of the parties to explore potential routes for a pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to India. The agreement was signed during the India-Russia Annual Summit.
Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator