Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 15

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Federal agencies moved to dismiss NEPA challenge to use of offshore hydraulic fracturing.
  • Government, NGOs moved for summary judgment in Big Cypress hydraulic fracturing challenge.
  • Pennsylvania town’s wastewater disposal ban ruled unconstitutional.
  • Court dismissed Oklahoma earthquake litigation.
  • New trial ordered for hydraulic fracturing tort case.
  • China surpassed Canada as largest customer of U.S. crude oil.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 14

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • President Trump signed Energy Independence executive order requiring agencies to review oil and natural gas regulations.
  • Interior Department to repeal valuation rule for fossil fuels produced on federal land.
  • California Air Resources Board approved methane regulations for oil and gas operations.
  • Maryland to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing.

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President Issues Executive Order on Energy and Climate

On March 28, President Donald Trump issued an executive order called Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth (Order). The Order charts a new course for United States energy policy by directing agencies to reverse actions taken by the Obama administration to address climate change, including the Clean Power Plan. Specifically:

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NAESB to Create a Mexican Addendum for Purchases and Sales of Natural Gas in Mexico

On Wednesday March 30, 2017, the North American Energy Standards Board (“NAESB”) Wholesale Gas Quadrant (“WGQ”) Contracts Subcommittee voted to move forward with the development of a Mexican Addendum to the NAESB Base Contract for the Purchase and Sale of Natural Gas.  Developing a Mexican Addendum should make Mexico a more desirable market for natural gas trading by providing greater certainty about the legal structure of gas trades.

As part of the 2017 NAESB WGQ Annual Plan, the WGQ Executive Committee proposed, and the Board approved, a proposal to review whether to develop a Mexican Addendum.  In December 2016, WGQ members voted not to pursue a Mexican Addendum.  However, that meeting was not well-attended and several parties who had advocated for creating a Mexican Addendum were not present.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 13

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Trump administration issued presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline.
  • PHMSA issued advisory bulletin on classification of threats to integrity of gas pipelines.
  • Federal court rejected lawsuit challenging Delaware River Basin Commission’s jurisdiction to regulate natural gas development within the Basin.
  • Environmental NGOs filed petition for review of FERC decision granting certificate to Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in D.C. Circuit.
  • Colorado: Intermediate appellate court held that state Oil and Gas Conservation Act requires oil and gas development to proceed in a manner protective of the environment.
  • Study concluded that the majority of methane found in groundwater in the Barnett Shale does not come from hydraulic fracturing.
  • Changes occur in economics of hydraulic fracturing as domestic oil production rebounds.

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Energy Enforcement Update

Politico Morning Energy reported this morning FERC WAIT MAY BE COMING TO AN END—“an informed tipster tells ME that those names — Neil Chatterjee, Robert Powelson and Kevin McIntyre — are expected to become official within in the next week.”  FERC has been without a quorum for nearly two months, hamstringing its ability to act on contested gas and electric rate filings, and infrastructure projects.  Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski has vowed to prioritize FERC nominees before her panel once the White House releases them, but getting them confirmed will likely still take several weeks, notwithstanding the two-week recess next month.

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • Department of Energy scrutinizing natural gas import and export reporting;
  • Judge in Powhatan/Chen proceeding grants leave to file amicus brief on de novo review;
  • Judge in ETRACOM case rules that “de novo review” means an ordinary civil action;
  • TOTAL responds to plaintiffs in class action proceeding;
  • Wyoming Pipeline Authority files then withdraws request for rehearing of FERC delegation order; and
  • Sidley to host roundtable on FERC energy and capacity market technical conference.

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