The Vinson & Elkins Shale and Fracking Tracker
Our Shale and Fracking Tracker focuses on legal, regulatory and other newsworthy developments that affect our clients involved in recovering oil and gas from the emerging shale plays using the critical techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Our Fracking Tracker is a product of our Shale and Fracking Practice Group, a cross-disciplinary and international team led by senior members of our Litigation, Environmental, Transactional, and Intellectual Property practice groups. Visit our V&E Fracking Practice Group page to learn more about our attorneys and our practice in this dynamic area.
NEW Vinson & Elkins U.S. State Hydraulic Fracturing Resources
Vinson & Elkins Global Hydraulic Fracturing Resources
V&E Fracking Flashes
May 24, 2016 - UK Approves First Fracking Permit Since Lifting Moratorium
On May 23, an English county government approved the UK’s first permit to allow hydraulic fracturing since the country lifted its moratorium on fracking in 2012. Despite being heavily promoted by David Cameron’s government, fracking has been slow to take off in the UK in the face of opposition from environmental groups and local residents. Britain has taken measures to speed up development via the 2015 Infrastructure Act, which contains provisions that remove unnecessary delays in the local planning process. Nonetheless, given the current pace of developments in the UK, analysts predict that large scale development remains at least five to ten years away.
May 12, 2016 - EPA Releases Final Rule on Oil and Gas Sector Methane Emissions
On May 12, 2016, the U.S. EPA released a final rule aimed at reducing methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified oil and gas sources. The final rule places new compliance burdens on compressor stations and well sites, including detecting and repairing equipment leaks, capturing gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured wells, and limiting emissions from certain new and modified equipment used at gas transmission compressor stations and well sites.
The final rule differs from the proposal released last fall in a number of ways. For example, compressor stations will be required to monitor leaks every quarter, and well sites will be required to do so semiannually, regardless of their compliance histories. Low production wells that were previously exempted in the proposed rule will also be required to comply with the new requirements.
The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Additionally, EPA is expected to release proposed rules limiting methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources in the future. See the final rule here and a list of sources covered here. Check back for more detailed analysis of the final rule next week.
V&E Fracking Resources
Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Requirements
Vinson & Elkins’ Shale & Fracking Practice Group has updated its comprehensive Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Requirements chart that summarizes state law for both current and proposed hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure requirements. The chart updates the hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure laws for Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. States that currently require disclosures related to hydraulic fracturing fluids include Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia and Wyoming. States with proposed disclosure requirements include California, Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, and New York. Additionally, Michigan is currently considering legislation to change its disclosure requirements. The chart also covers the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure requirements for drilling on federal lands.
The chart notes required disclosures, any trade secret or proprietary information protection provisions in the disclosure requirements, how the disclosure must occur, and when operators must make the required disclosures. Click here to view the chart. We will update the chart as new rules are proposed and adopted, so please check the website periodically for updates.