Archives: Shale

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The Continued Attempt to End Shale Development in Colorado – This Time Through the Voter Initiative

An attempt to put restrictions on shale development, so as to effectively end it, is nothing new in Colorado. Just this year, several Democrats attempted to push a bill through the Colorado House of Representatives that would have given local governments specific authority to regulate the siting of oil and gas facilities. The Colorado House … Continue Reading

Off the Tracks: Quantifying Potential Monetary Exposure From Crude-by-Rail Incidents

This article is the second in a three-part series that began with “Off the Tracks: A Data-Driven Analysis of Crude-by-Rail Liability Factors, Exposure, and Potential Solutions,” which was published on December 19, 2015. In Part One of this series, we analyzed factors that influence liability for crude-by-rail (CBR) incidents. But knowing the liability factors leads … Continue Reading

Off the Tracks: A Data-Driven Analysis of Crude-by-Rail Liability Factors, Exposure, and Potential Solutions

Crude oil prices are now approaching what pundits believe is likely to be the bottom phase in the current market cycle. Due to the price downturn, the arbitrage window that drives a substantial portion of crude-by-rail (“CBR”) shipping volumes is closed. Yet once the price recovery begins, producers and refiners will again avail themselves of … Continue Reading

Lower Oil and Gas Prices Met With an Uptick in Unpaid Overtime, Worker Misclassification, and Other Wage Suits

On Monday, the United States Energy Information Administration released a Drilling Productivity Report. The report projects that total oil output from seven major U.S. shale regions will fall by 118,000 barrels per day to about 4.95 million barrels per day in December. This is the largest monthly decline on record. The Bakken and Eagle Ford … Continue Reading

Will Congress Repeal the Crude Oil Export Ban in Fall 2015?

Rising congressional support signals real promise that the ban on U.S. crude oil exports could be repealed within the next six months. The U.S. now exports more than 550 thousand barrels per day (kbd) of crude oil and another 120 to 140 kbd of condensate as of May 2015.[1] Yet continuing restrictions mean producers can only … Continue Reading

Illinois Appellate Court Concludes No Irreparable Harm From Implementation of New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

The nascent Illinois shale oil and gas industry won a preliminary victory in the courtroom last week. The Appellate Court of Illinois for the Fifth District affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction against the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) new hydraulic fracturing regulations. Although the DNR’s regulations must still survive a decision on … Continue Reading

Frack 2.0: Refracing Could Enable a Second Wave of Production Growth in the Bakken and Eagle Ford

Operators will likely refrac more oil and gas wells this year and further accelerate such activity in 2016. The reason is simple: substantial bang for CAPEX bucks. A recent study by engineers from SPE and Baker Hughes estimates that Bakken oil wells can be refraced for $1.8 million apiece – roughly ¼ of what it … Continue Reading

Crude-by-Rail Still Outcompetes Pipelines in the Bakken

With low oil prices and producers slashing the rig count in the Bakken shale, it is fair to ask whether crude-by-rail will be able to compete with pipelines in the region. The bottom line is that crude-by-rail is likely to continue playing a vital role in carrying large amounts of crude—more than 700 thousand barrels … Continue Reading

OPEC’s Price War Is Entrenching North American Shale Producers’ Global Competitive Advantage

Oil price uncertainty strengthens the global competitive advantages of U.S.—and Canadian—unconventional oil projects. Both countries offer excellent geology, robust supporting infrastructure, deep local capital markets, stable politics, and favorable legal and regulatory regimes. They will be the markets that see the leading edge of efficiency improvements and cost decreases. In a nutshell, the OPEC low-cost … Continue Reading

China to Increase Shale Gas Production

China plans to increase its shale gas production from 1.3 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year to 30 billion cubic meters per year by 2020, according to Chen Weidong of China National Offshore Oil Corp. This goal is significantly less than the 60 to 80 billion cubic meter goal set in 2012, when … Continue Reading

When Oil Prices Head South, So Do the Bakken Oil Trains

Bakken crude oil increasingly heads south as low oil prices erode its competitive advantage in the U.S. East Coast market. The price of WTI crude oil—the benchmark price for most U.S. shale crudes—is moving toward parity with Brent, the international crude price benchmark for grades such as Nigerian Bonny Light that compete with Bakken in … Continue Reading

Mexico Is Becoming the Single-Largest U.S. Shale Gas Export Customer

On December 2, 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated Phase I of the new Los Ramones Gas Pipeline, which could by year end 2016 double the volume of gas the U.S. exports by pipeline to Mexico.[1] Pipelines to Mexico already move a volume of gas equivalent to more than 16 million tonnes per year of … Continue Reading

Texas Railroad Commission Adopts Rules for Disposal Wells in Potential High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Texas Railroad Commission unanimously adopted amendments to rules concerning disposal wells in areas that have experienced or are likely to experience seismic activity. As covered by the North America Shale Blog in August, the amendments were proposed in response to questions from residents in towns sitting atop the Barnett … Continue Reading

Environmental Group Calls for Tighter Regulation of Frac Sand

The U.S. shale boom has generated a boom in a related industry: “frac sand.” Sand has become an integral component of hydraulic fracturing. Oil companies use sand as a “proppant”: after shale formations are injected with water and chemicals, the proppant keeps the newly formed cracks open to allow natural gas or crude oil to … Continue Reading

Denver Shale Symposium Attracts Large Attendance from Major Oil and Gas Companies

Addressing recent developments affecting the oil and gas industry in the Rockies, theShale Symposium in Denver drew close to 300 industry professionals, making it one of the highest attended of the six symposiums hosted by the firm’s Energy and Shale team since the spring of 2013. The symposiums have attracted speakers and attendees from major players … Continue Reading

Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP Announces Agreements to Purchase over $4 Billion of Shale Acreage in Utica, Marcellus, and the Permian Basin.

In two press releases Monday, American Energy Partners LP announced agreements to purchase shale acreage in the Utica and Marcellus shale for $1.75 billion, and acreage in the Permian Basin in Texas for $2.5 billion. The deals are expected to close in the next 60 days. American Energy Partners CEO Aubrey McClendon formed the company … Continue Reading

Fifth Shale Symposium Provides Insights From Oil and Gas Industry Executives

On March 24, the Energy and Shale practice team of BakerHostetler held its latest Shale Symposium, titled “The State of the Shale Play” at the Royal Sonesta in Houston, Texas. The program was co-hosted with Young Professionals in Energy (YPE). With nearly 400 in-person attendees, and more than 40 webinar participants, attendance at the event … Continue Reading

State Department Paves Way for Keystone XL Pipeline Approval

On Friday, State Department officials released the final environmental impact statement for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, concluding that the project would not substantially increase carbon emissions, and clearing the way for State Department and White House approval. The pipeline—which would extend 1,179 miles from western Canada through Steele City, Nebraska—would allow delivery of 830,000 barrels … Continue Reading
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