The BP oil spill. The Keystone XL pipeline. Hydraulic fracturing (?fracking?) of wells. Gas prices up. Gas prices down. In the last few years, the headlines have been filled with stories about oil and natural gas. Production in the U.S. is rising. After years of decline, domestic production of crude oil could increase by as much as 42% by 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, domestic production of natural gas is expected to make the U.S. a net exporter rather than a net importer within ten years. What is the legal framework governing the production, transportation, and use of these hydrocarbons? And how does that legal framework affect the economy and the environment? This seminar explores the intersection of energy and environmental policy in the context of oil and gas law. We will begin by reviewing the traditional law of property interests in oil and gas, conveyances, and leases. We will then examine select legal and policy issues involving the drilling and completion of wells (including the technique of hydraulic fracturing), offshore development, transportation through pipelines, refining, and energy use. As time allows, we will also consider the international context.
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