Monday, December 18, 2017

Shale Law Weekly Review - December 18, 2017

Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.

Pipelines: Forest Service Will Allow Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction in National Forest
On December 1, 2017, the United States Forest Service announced that it will allow for the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project (MVP project) within the Jefferson National Forest. The Forest Service will amend the Jefferson National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan by changing standards to allow for pipeline construction. The MVP project is a 303 mile pipeline that will reach from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline will cross 3.6 miles of national forest and impact approximately 83 acres.

Pipelines: Sierra Club Files Petition for Review of Water Quality Certification Granted to Mountain Valley Pipeline
On December 8, 2017, the Sierra Club and several environmental groups filed a petition for review of the Water Quality Certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project (MVP project) issued by the Virginia State Water Control Board and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The Water Quality Certification was granted with several conditions. The MVP project must maintain a 50 foot riparian buffer, may not refuel or store materials within 100 feet of wetlands, and must limit the area of construction disturbance near bodies of water. The Mountain Valley Pipeline will transport 2 million dekatherms per day of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations to destinations  across Virginia.

International Development: Australian Territory Releases Draft Report of Hydraulic Fracturing Study
On December 12, 2017, the Northern Territory Government of Australia announced that the Independent Scientific Inquiry had released its draft final report on the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing in the area. The report identifies the risks of hydraulic fracturing with onshore unconventional gas reservoirs and contains recommendations for risk mitigation. The report concludes that the challenges and risks are manageable. The Independent Scientific Inquiry recommends the use of new technology, high engineering standards, monitoring and reporting, transparency, and regulatory reform. The report is entitled Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Reservoirs in the Northern Territory.

International Development: World Bank Will No Long Finance Oil and Gas Production
On December 12, 2017, the World Bank Group announced in a press release that they will no longer be financing oil and gas production after 2019. The World Bank has made this decision to support countries working to meet greenhouse gas emissions goals under the Paris Agreement. They also state that they may provide financing under exceptional circumstances to poor countries where the benefit of energy access for the poor fits within Paris Agreement commitments. Additionally, in 2018 the World Bank will begin collecting data and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from any investment projects it finances.

Production and Operation: Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office Releases Report on Natural Gas
On December 6, 2017, Independent Fiscal Office for Pennsylvania released a report analyzing natural gas production data within the state.  For the third quarter of 2017, Pennsylvania produced 1,2326.2 bcf natural gas and had 8,073 producing wells. Total production has increased by 4.8 percent and the number of producing wells increased by 9.3 percent. The report is entitled Natural Gas Production Report - July to September.

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See our Global Shale Law Compendium and this week’s article, Shale Law Governance in Pennsylvania - Legislation from 2013 to 2016.

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