Author Archives: Gary E. Slagel

Update – Pooling & Unitization in Pennsylvania

Pooling for oil and natural gas development was addressed in the latter half of the 20th Century by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the Oil and Gas Conservation Act of 1961. This law addresses deep wells that penetrate the Onondaga formation which is the formation immediately below the Marcellus Shale. In order to promote the… Read More »

PA DEP’s Latest Regulatory Initiative – Subsurface Standards for Gas Wells

At the June 25, 2014 meeting of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board meeting, the DEP unveiled their proposed concepts for some new rulemaking that would take place under Title 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78, Subchapters D and H.   The Technical Advisory Board was told that these changes… Read More »

Induced Seismicity and Underground Injection of Drilling Fluids

At the recent midyear meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) geological experts from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas provided updates and analyses of the historic and current seismic activity in their respective states. They offered that while some of the seismic activity can be linked to the injection of fluids into geologic formations… Read More »

Methane Emissions from Oil and Natural Gas Production and Use – How Accurate are the Estimates?

During a recent Environmental Law Institute teleconference, the climate change director of the US EPA’s air office cautioned that a better understanding is needed before drawing any conclusions from the top down or atmospheric sampling that was done to determine the level of methane emissions from the oil and gas industries. 

Stray Gas Migration – Fact vs Fiction

One of the more serious issues confronting state regulatory agencies, particularly in the Marcellus Shale play, has been addressing the question “can these shale gas wells create new pathways for gas to contaminate private water wells”.  The concern is that once gas enters a water well it has a direct route into the dwelling via… Read More »

Chapter 78 Comments Submitted – Monumental Effort by Industry Concluded – What’s Next?

The December 14, 2013 publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the Chapter 78 Proposed Rulemaking set forth new environmental performance standards for activities associated with the development and operation of oil and gas well sites. The response by the industry was unprecedented in scope, perhaps the most significant and comprehensive effort ever undertaken by the… Read More »

Pennsylvania’s Energy Plan and the Environment

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett surprised many with the January 2014 release of his new energy plan for the Commonwealth entitiled “ENERGY = JOBS”.  This eighty-one page document covers a range of energy related issues including a look at the state’s energy portfolio, a plan for making use of the state’s resources, a plan for transforming… Read More »

PA DEP’s On-going Radiation Study for Oil and Gas Operations

One of the many environmental issues or concerns associated with shale gas development has been the level of radiation exposure associated with the variety of processes and equipment used to develop the resource.  While there is no current data to link shale gas development with elevated levels of radiation risk or exposure, the Pennsylvania Department… Read More »

Earthworks Accountability Project Report – Its Conclusions Regarding Marcellus Flowback in Pennsylvania

A recently released October, 2013 report by the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project out of Durango, Colorado contains some interesting statements on the amount and method of flowback disposal associated with Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale gas production.  This report was prepared by Downstream Strategies out of Morgantown, West Virginia and San Jose State University out… Read More »

Low Methane Leakage from Shale Gas Wells Verified

Critics of shale gas development have frequently charged that methane leaks and emissions from shale gas operations are high enough to present no real advantage over other fossil fuels from a greenhouse gas standpoint.  However, recent study conducted  by the University of Texas and the Environmental Defense Fund (yes, you read that correctly) concluded that… Read More »