Shale Development and Hydraulic Fracturing
Development of oil and natural gas plays a vital role in the future of the energy landscape. Technology innovations using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” have provided greater access to oil and gas in shale formations. As the U.S. has sought to balance its domestic energy and environmental policies, fracking has become increasingly popular. In response, however, energy and environmental groups have intensified their focus on fracking, and their methods have been keenly scrutinized by the media. This, in turn, has inspired much debate in many legislatures and courts, as well as in our communities where local ordinances and ballot initiatives have sought to restrict new development.
We bring value to our clients in the following ways:
- Sophisticated thought leadership. Sidley’s Environmental and Energy lawyers are actively engaged with the rapidly changing legal developments that can facilitate or impede shale oil and gas development and the use of hydraulic fracturing to procure those resources. Our Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report is designed to keep energy industry participants up to date on the federal, state and international legal developments that impact access to shale resources and hydraulic fracturing.
- In-depth knowledge of the issues. Our lawyers bring their deep knowledge of environmental law and science, coupled with an understanding of oil and gas exploration, production and transmission, to assist clients with the many regulations pertaining to shale development and fracking. Collaborating across the firm’s global offices, our multidisciplinary team handles the spectrum of environmental, land use and oil and gas matters for energy industry clients.
- Expansive regulatory capabilities. As the U.S. continues to derive energy resources through the use of fracking, more of our clients will be affected by developments in this area. We can advise on strategies for successfully navigating the evolving regulations at both the state and federal levels. Our energy regulatory practice includes handling matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state regulatory commissions, as well as the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation and State.
Our work; representative matters
We have advocated on behalf of clients in a variety of hydraulic fracturing and shale transactions, including representing:
- An oil and gas trade association as amicus in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. in support of a successful challenge to municipal laws that restricted the use of hydraulic fracturing.
- Oil and gas and industry trade associations as amici in Cooperstown Holstein v. Town of Middlefield and Norse Energy v. Town of Dryden, litigation that challenged municipal ordinances seeking to ban oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing in New York.
- Oil and gas industry trade associations that sought to intervene on the side of the federal government in State of New York v. United States Army Corps of Engineers.
- An oil and gas industry trade association as amicus in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, litigation regarding the constitutionality of Pennsylvania Act 13 governing shale gas development in Pennsylvania.
- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in a $1.4 billion carry-to-earn Marcellus Shale joint venture with Mitsui, and a $1.55 billion all-carry Eagle Ford Shale joint venture with KNOC.
- Avista Capital Partners in two joint ventures with Carrizo Oil & Gas ($150 million and $200 million capital commitments); and the sale of approximately 52,200 net mineral acres to a subsidiary of Reliance Industries ($327 million).
- CONSOL Energy Inc. in the acquisition of the Appalachian/Marcellus Shale exploration and production business of Dominion Resources ($3.48 billion).
- Sanchez Energy in the acquisition of approximately 45,000 Eagle Ford Shale net mineral acres for total consideration (cash and newly issued common stock) of $105 million.
- Talisman Energy in a purchase through a joint venture with a strategic partner of Eagle Ford Shale properties from Enduring Resources ($1.3 billion).
- Several clients on a range of agency actions related to shale gas development, including, among others, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study of the potential for environmental impacts to water from the use of hydraulic fracturing; EPA’s draft guidance on the use of diesel fuels in hydraulic fracturing; Bureau of Land Management leases and rulemaking on the use of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands; and the State of New York’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.