Monday, November 11, 2019

Shale Law Weekly Review - November 11, 2019

Written by:
Chloe Marie – Research Specialist
Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
National Energy Policy: United States Initiates Withdrawal Process from the Paris Agreement
On November 2, 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement that the Department of State formally notified the United Nations that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  According to Secretary Pompeo, the United States will be officially out of the agreement within one year after the delivery of the notification. U.S. President Donald Trump first indicated his intention to withdraw from the agreement on June 1, 2017, arguing that the agreement puts the country at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.  Secretary Pompeo added, however, that the United States will continue to participate in discussions on clean energy sources and technologies. 

Pipelines: Appeals Court Denies Rehearing for PennEast Pipeline
On November 5, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied a petition for rehearing requested by the PennEast Pipeline Company.  The PennEast Pipeline is a 118-mile expansion project designed to transport Marcellus Shale gas through southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  PennEast was granted approval for the project by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January 2018.  Following a series of legal challenges, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that PennEast Pipeline Company is barred by the 11th amendment from condemning properties along the pipeline route that are controlled by the state of New Jersey. 

Induced Seismicity: United Kingdom Announces Permanent Shutdown of Hydraulic Fracturing in England
On November 2, 2019, United Kingdom Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced in a press release the cessation of hydraulic fracturing activities in England.  This decision follows the release of an interim report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which provides a scientific analysis and interpretation of data collected in the course of Cuadrilla’s drilling operations at the Preston New Road (PNR) site.  OGA commissioned multiple independent researchers to analyze the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and induced seismicity at PNR.  The interim report concluded that “[t]he methods for predicting event maximum and magnitude need further testing and cannot be viewed as reliable for [Preston New Road].”  Consequently, Secretary Leadsom declared that the ban will be implemented for an indefinite term until the government is provided with new scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing is safe.  In addition, the government announced that it will not pursue its proposed planning reforms for shale gas exploration. 

Methane Emissions: Study Examines Methane Point-Source Emissions in California
On November 6, 2019, the Nature Research Journal published a study examining point-source emissions in California.  The study, California’s Methane Super-Emitters, used airborne imaging spectrometry between 2016 and 2018.  The researchers were able to detect, identify, and quantify 564 methane point sources.  According to the study, the majority, or 41%, of California’s point-source emissions emanate from landfills.  The researchers estimate that dairies account for 26% and the oil and gas sector contributes 26% of methane point-source emissions.  
From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
Georges A. Bibikos, At the Well Weekly (Nov. 1, 2019)
John McFarland, How Fracking Works (Nov. 4, 2019)
National Legislation
Land Management Bureau
Pennsylvania Actions and Notices
Department of Environmental Protection
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