Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 12 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates on Utah, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New Jersey and Nevada. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. If you have any questions on any of these summaries, please do not hesitate to ask.
Utah – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Utah’s crude oil output exceeded 85,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012. This level of output represents a 44 percent increase over the past two years and is directly attributable to the use of hydraulic fracturing. Increases is output such as these are the reason that the International Energy Agency forecasts the U.S. to outpace Saudi Arabia in production in less than eight years.
Pennsylvania – Nine members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and 18 State Senators submitted a letter to President Obama asking the President to act on the LNG export applications as required under the 1938 Natural Gas Act.
There are currently 17 applications to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement. Pressure to approve such applications has increased exponentially since the DOE released results of a NERA export study that found net economic benefits across numerous export scenarios.
Wyoming – On January 10, 2012, EPA announced it would delay by eight months its final study of groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming. In a draft report, EPA preliminarily found that Encana’s hydraulic fracturing operations caused groundwater contamination. The findings were roundly discredited by industry, the State of Wyoming, the U.S. Geological Survey, and independent experts. EPA stated that it needed more time for public comment and to take into account new data. In separate letters to EPA, both House Republicans and Democrats urged EPA to speed up the Pavillion study.
New Jersey – New Jersey’s year-long moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the state expired this month. The moratorium was largely symbolic as the state is not a meaningful candidate for industry operations save for a sliver of Sussex County near Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, environmentalists attacked Gov. Christie for failing to protect the state. Gov. Christie received similar criticism for vetoing a bill that would have banned New Jersey wastewater treatment facilities from accepting hydraulic fracturing wastewater and produced waters.
Nevada – Noble Energy Inc. is planning to be first company to conduct hydraulic fracturing in Nevada. Noble has leased over 350,000 acres in Elko County in the northeastern sector of the state. The leases are located on both public and private land. Noble plans to invest $140 million in the project, which it estimates could produce about 50,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014. Hydraulic fracturing is rewriting the domestic energy map yet again.