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Railroad Commission Chairwoman: “It’s My Job to Give Permits, Not Denton’s”

At a November 6 event, Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick unequivocally stated that the Commission would continue to issue drilling permits to operators in Denton, despite the November 4 vote making it the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing. “It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s. We’re going to continue permitting … Continue Reading

Study Linking Earthquakes to Fracing May Shake the Ballots

On October 15, seismologist Paul A. Friberg published an article in the journal Seismological Research Letters that links earthquakes to hydraulic fracturing. The report was published less than a month before today’s vote, in which several communities will make decisions affecting the burgeoning domestic energy business. The article links hydraulic fracturing, not only to the … 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

Suit by Denton, Texas, Royalty Interest Owners Could be Harbinger of More Suits If Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Ban Passes

Ahead of the November 4th vote that could make it the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing, the City of Denton has been sued by a group of royalty interest owners claiming that the city’s current temporary ban violates their property rights. As previously covered by the North America Shale Blog, on May … Continue Reading

TX House Subcommittee Hears Testimony from Railroad Commission Seismologist on Proposed Rules Related to Disposal Wells in High-Risk Seismic Areas

Following the Texas Railroad Commission’s recent proposal for additional rules related to disposal wells in “high-risk” seismic areas, on Monday, August 25, members of the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity heard testimony from Dr. Craig Pearson, the seismologist hired by the Railroad Commission to investigate the possible correlation between seismic events and oil and … Continue Reading

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Regulations for High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, amidst claims that hydraulic fracturing could be causing earthquakes in some parts of Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission proposed amendments to permitting regulations for injection wells. The proposed rules would require drillers to submit additional information as part of the permit application process for injection wells in areas designated as high-risk for seismic … Continue Reading

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Calls Proposed Denton Fracking Ban ‘Extremely Misguided’; Asks City Council to Reject Measure

On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman Smitherman’s letter, which calls the proposed attempt to ban drilling “extremely misguided”, was sent ahead of the July 15th … 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

Drought Conditions Cause Eagle Ford Operators to Find Wastewater Recycling Solutions

Amidst what the National Drought Mitigation Center has classified as abnormal to severe drought conditions, operators in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale formation are taking steps to increase their ability to recycle wastewater generated during hydraulic fracturing operations. Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, estimates that … Continue Reading

Texas Jury Awards Damages for Fracking Nuisance Claim for the Second Time

Last Friday, a Texas jury awarded a Tarrant County couple $20,000 in damages after finding activities at a natural gas drilling site located 165 feet from their property constituted a temporary private nuisance.  The verdict comes less than a month after a Dallas County jury awarded $2.9 million in damages to plaintiffs for a private … Continue Reading

Denton (TX) City Council Enacts Drilling Moratorium and Will Consider Possible Ban on Fracking

Amidst complaints from citizens, the Denton, Texas city council unanimously enacted a drilling moratorium, which will be in effect until September 9th. The ordinance, which was adopted by the council at its May 6th meeting, stated that “…increased drilling in close proximity to residential and other protected uses…have resulted in negative and deleterious effects on … Continue Reading

Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million in Damages from Fracking Nuisance Claims

On April 22, 2014, a Dallas County, Texas jury awarded a family $2.9 million dollars for personal injury and property damages arising out of their suit against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. The jury’s verdict includes damage awards of $2.25 million for past and future physical pain and suffering, $400,000 in mental anguish, and $275,000 in property … Continue Reading

Advances in Drilling Techniques Push U.S. Oil Rig Count to New Record High

Operators’ ability to develop previously untapped oil reserves through horizontal drilling techniques has led to a record 1,443 oil rigs currently in operation in the U.S. according to a report released last week by Baker Hughes, Inc. According to industry observers, one of the main drivers of the record rig-count is the ability to develop … Continue Reading

New Exploration Technologies Give Rise to Unclaimed Property Compliance Issues

The recent expansion of oil and natural gas exploration and production activities in previously unprofitable areas has brought increased attention to issues surrounding compliance with state unclaimed property laws.  Producers should be mindful of the powerful incentives that exist for states and third-party auditors to aggressively pursue those who are out of compliance with the … Continue Reading

Texas’ Eagle Ford Formation Leads U.S. in Oil-and-Gas Transactions in 2013

In a year where overall upstream oil-and-gas transactions were down significantly from the previous year, the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas proved to be an active region for companies looking to make a deal. 2013’s $137.7 billion in total upstream merger activity represented a 49 percent decline from 2012’s total of $270.8 billion. … Continue Reading

Researchers Examine Potential Connection Between Disposal Wells and Earthquakes in North Texas

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and Southern Methodist University are currently monitoring seismic activity around Azle, Texas amidst claims that a series of small earthquakes that occurred in the area in late 2013 were caused by disposal wells. The seismic monitors installed by SMU and the USGS would allow researchers to determine the epicenter … Continue Reading

Natural Gas Power Saves Texas Water, May Reduce Drought Risk

A recent study by researchers Bridget Scanlon, Ian Duncan and Robert C. Reedy of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas-Austin found that the state of Texas consumed less water as a result of using natural gas-fired power plants than it would have had it generated the same amount of electricity using … Continue Reading

Dallas City Council Adopts Ordinance Imposing Strict Guidelines on Drilling

            Members of the Dallas City Council voted 9-6 on Wednesday, December 11, to adopt a recommendation from the Dallas City Plan Commission requiring a 1,500-foot setback between gas wells and protected sites, including homes, schools, retail spaces, water wells and churches. The new ordinance imposes a 1,200 foot increase from the former required setback … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Set to Hear Case Involving Subsurface Trespass Claim

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear a suit that could determine whether landowners in the state have a cause of action for trespass when water from underground injection wells migrates onto their property.  The Court’s decision in Environmental Processing Systems LC v. FPL Farming Ltd. No. 12-0905 could prompt oil and gas … Continue Reading

Severance Tax Debate Continues

Through the summer and leading up to the adoption of Ohio’s biennial budget, changes to Ohio’s severance tax were discussed in the General Assembly and in the media.  Severance tax provisions were cut from discussions fairly early in the budget process, and the budget became law without any change to the severance tax.  Still, those … Continue Reading

New Study Measures Methane Emissions During Fracking

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published a study conducted by the University of Texas that measured methane emissions from natural gas production, focusing specifically on emissions at well sites conducting hydraulic fracturing operations. The study included the direct measurement of methane emissions at 190 natural gas sites with 489 wells in … Continue Reading
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