Now that our new president has been elected (Proud Boys, its over!), let’s take a look at what people smarter than I are predicting it will mean for the domestic oil and gas industry and the climate. In summary: bad for one, no meaningful help for the other, and the fury of the fiscal kraken will be unleashed. (As usual these are summaries; see the articles for a fuller picture).
Continue Reading Predicting the Effect of Biden’s Election on the Oil Industry and the Climate

The battle lines between pipeline companies and landowners are still being drawn. In Bayou Bridge Pipeline v. 38.00 acres nobody had a gun, nobody got taken away, and one side was right and one side was wrong.

There were two survivors:

  • The constitutionality of Louisiana’s statutory scheme for expropriation of private land for oil pipelines, and
  • BBP’s gamble to trespass and begin work before a judgment was obtained.  As BBP said, “time is money”.

Note to non-Louisiana lawyers: Unlike Texas at least, a Louisiana pipeline must obtain a judgment of expropriation before going on the property.
Continue Reading Louisiana Oil Pipeline Expropriation System is Constitutional

Gas flaring, especially in the Permian and the Eagle Ford, is coming in hot these days at the Texas Railroad Commission. Presented here are viewpoints from several stakeholders in the discussion. My comments are summaries. For a fuller understanding please read the reports for yourself.

The players are in general agreement on several points:

  • There needs to be an end to routine gas flaring.
  • Texas flares a lot of gas: About as much annually as all of its residential users combined, or maybe as much as the seven largest cities, or maybe Houston. It depends on who’s talking. Values vary but in the Permian it ranges from $450 Million to $750 Million.
  • Progress is being made, plenty for some, not enough for others.

The Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition

These seven trade associations and 40 operators are members of the Railroad Commission’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery. Their positon, among others:

  • More detailed data submissions from operators will result in more effective operational and regulatory decisions that will reduce flaring.
  • A proposed flaring matrix (see the report) identifies situations where flaring is necessary and makes recommendations for the application of Rule 32 that will result in overall flaring reductions because of the shortened time frame for administrative approvals.
  • Methane emissions from oil and gas systems are down 23 percent since 1990.
  • Texas flaring intensity is well below that of comparable countries according to the World Bank.


Continue Reading How Will the Texas Railroad Commission Address Gas Flaring?

Last week’s discussion of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report on alleged failures in enforcement of hydraulic fracturing is worthy of a follow-up. Here, combined into one document, is the Grand Jury’s report, the Department of Environmental Protection’s response (beginning on page 112) and the Department of Health’s response (beginning on page 165).

The Grand Jury recommends

Expand no drill zones, stop the “chemical cover-up”, regulate all pipelines, add up the air pollution sources, transport toxic waste more safely, deliver a real public health response, end the “revolving door”, and use the criminal laws.

The DEP responds

The report is unreliable, legally and factually inaccurate, not informed by applicable law or facts, relies on undocumented assertions, “does the public a disservice”, and the Attorney General failed to give the Grand Jurors accurate information.  This, from a Democratic governor.

The former Secretary defends the department

 A response from Michael Krancer, Secretary of the DEP from 2011 until 2013, says:


Continue Reading The Fracking Fracas, Part 2

There is “new news” and there is the same-old-same-old. Today is mostly the latter but it seems more “out there” than in it used to be.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General convened a grand jury that slammed regulatory failures in Pennsylvania gas drilling and recommended setbacks that would effectively destroy the ability to develop shale resources.