Energy Underground: Innovative Law and Policy For Transformative Technologies

15 May 2013


In the last decade, important new energy activities beneath the surface have emerged. These have the potential to become significant parts of the complex set of relationships that locate, process, transport, use, and dispose of energy resources. A list of “new subsurface activities” would include hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), horizontal drilling, shale oil and gas drilling, coal bed methane extraction, in-situ gasification of coal, natural gas storage, hazardous waste disposal, carbon capture and storage, underground disposal of nuclear wastes, and geothermal development. These new uses and new concerns present a challenge to the existing legal framework.

Topics and Speakers

The conceptual basis (vertical extension of surface property and its limitations) and current legal developments of new technologies (new hydrocarbon extraction techniques, CCS, geothermal energy) as well as potential subsurface conflicts Professor Gunther Kühne, Emeritus Professor of Law, Technical University of Claustha and Honorary Professor of Law, University of Göttingen, Germany.

The common law and related legislative developments on proprietary claims to the subsurface Professor Barry Barton, University of Waikato, Te Piringa-Faculty of Law, New Zealand.

Civil law doctrines of subsurface use with particular attention to Latin America. Differences in civil and common law in connection with United States and Mexican development of offshore fields in the EEZ in the Gulf of Mexico Dr. Jose Juan González, Department of Law, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico City.

African perspective on subsurface resource extraction. Special attention to the modification of traditional Roman-Dutch common law principles through the colonial era and the growth of constitutional assertion of government ownership of underground resources Professor Hanri Moster, University of Cape Town.

CCS possibilities in New Zealand. Leakage, pressure fronts and other unexpected events that require regulatory preparedness Brad Field, Geologist, GNS Science

Developments in producing a legal regime for CCS in the US. The CCS Regulatory Project Professor Michael Dworkin, Vermont Law School, Director of the Institute of Energy and the Environment.

Encouragement of CCS technology by the UK government in policy and legislation. Potential and risks of CCS technology and ways in which law might minimize them. Investment incentives and regulations Professor Aileen McHarg, Faculty of Law, University of Strathclyde.

The variety of new technologies that the Netherlands is promoting, including geothermal heat, CCS, and shale gas development. The 2003 Mining Act in relation to the new technologies. The role of the EU legal framework Professor Martha Roggenkamp, Law Faculty, University of Groningen.

Case Law, the practice of regulatory boards, legislation and government policy in the management of subsurface resource conflicts in Canada, including conventional oil and gas development, oil sands, natural gas storage projects, potable groundwater, and carbon capture and storage Professor Nigel Bankes, Chair of Natural Resources Law, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary.

Innovation and Employment Dr Alice Hume, Manager, Resources Policy, Ministry of Business.

The Technical Scene Brad Ilg, Manager Petroleum Strategy, Planning and Promotion, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.

The Regulatory Scene Gary Bedford, Taranaki Regional Council.

Legal aspects of the United States’ leadership of the development of hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of shale gas. Federal regulation. Differing approaches to fracking in New York and Pennsylvania in respect to the Marcellus shale Professor LeRoy Paddock, George Washington University of Law School.

Practices and law in a variety of African nations. The role of water resources in underground extraction activities, and human rights issues in economic development Professor Yinka Omorogbe, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, former Secretary and Legal Adviser to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company.

Shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing in the mature hydrocarbon rich province of Alberta. The Energy Resources conservation Board’s response to new fracturing technology and to public concerns about fracturing Professor Al Luca QC, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary.