This client briefing is a collaboration with US Law
Firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P1
The recent explosion of interest in the use of hydraulic
fracturing as a method of sourcing natural gas and oil presents a
conundrum for governments around the world. On the one hand their
citizens consume ever increasing quantities of energy, however many
are also strongly opposed the development of energy resources.
Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of acquiring oil and gas
from shales. In nations where shale resources appear abundant,
governments strive to strike a balance between the benefits of
hydraulic facturing - jobs, increased public revenue, lower-cost
energy, and energy security - and public concerns that the process
may pose risks to public supplies of drinking water.
In particular, the fluids involved in hydraulic fracturing
represent a significant investment on the part of investors, who
consider the product of their research to be trade secrets, and are
not publicly disclosed. Governments must therefore find middle
ground between the public's interests in transparency in
government and access to information versus fostering a competitive
marketplace where investors are rewarded for innovation.
This paper will briefly discuss how several
democratically-elected governments have struck the balance. After
some introductory explanation about hydraulic fracturing, it looks
at several of the states within the United States. It then
considers approaches taken in Canada and Australia.
1On June 3, 2013 Norton Rose will join forces
with leading US firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. to create
Norton Rose Fulbright. With 3800 lawyers and 54 offices, including
11 in the USA, Norton Rose Fulbright will be one of the largest
legal practices, with significant depth of expertise in the
world's leading business and financial centres.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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