Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases First in Series of Guidance Documents Addressing Responsible Natural Gas Development

Last week the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group of oil and gas companies, released the first in a series of guidance documents intended to standardize how the oil and natural gas industry approaches future drilling operations. This is the first in a series of releases expected in the coming months that will provide recommended practices for drilling companies.  This first release in the series addresses how drilling companies should go about the site planning, development, and restoration process.

The guidance documents are intended to codify the best practices for the industry, thereby defusing tensions between property owners and the energy industry.  For example, the site planning, development, and restoration recommended practices document advises oil and natural gas companies to, among other things, reduce their impact on the leased property and surrounding communities by drafting development plans with surface owners.  Such a plan is recommended so that the needs of the industry and those of the surface owners and local communities may be harmonized.

While improved public relations is one of the principle motivations behind the production of these guidance documents, the series may ultimately be of great value to drilling companies and landowners, as well as the attorneys that advise them.


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