IEL's Annual Shale Conference Steps Up a Notch

The historic Fort Worth Hilton Hotel was the venue for the IEL's 4th Law of Shale Plays Conference on June 6 and 7, 2013. Co-chairs David Poole of Range Resources and Barclay Nicholson of Norton Rose Fulbright had aimed to take the fourth conference to a more advanced level, an ambition which was achieved with a number of sophisticated policy discussions adding to the legal debate.

The keynote address was given by Mike Krancer, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and now a partner in the law firm of Blank Rome in Philadelphia, who discussed the relationship between regulators at federal, state and local level, as well as responding to questions about the likelihood of his running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014 or 2018.

Another highlight of the conference was a look into the energy future by Ken Cohen, Exxon Mobil's vice president of public and government affairs. The unparalleled change to the energy future of the U.S. and indeed the world caused by the shale revolution was highlighted by Ken, and again later in the conference by Susan Sakmar, Visiting Assistant Professor and Andrews Kurth Energy Law Scholar at the University of Houston Law Center, who presented a comprehensive review of the cases for and against the U.S. becoming an exporter of LNG.

The conference included perennial favorites such as the litigation panel chaired once again by Jeff King of Winstead in Fort Worth, and the general counsel panel moderated by Barclay Nicholson. The impact of shale development on local communities was explored in a very interesting panel discussion featuring Erica Powers, a professor of planning law at SUNY Albany with a deep interest in shale development and its consequences, and two panelists who had experienced the effect of shale development on their community first hand, Karr Ingham, president of InghamEcon, and James Beauchamp of the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN), both from Midland, Texas.

After four years in Fort Worth, the IEL is planning to take the Law of Shale Plays Conference on the road! Following popular demand, planning has begun for the fifth conference to be presented at a venue in the northeastern shale states in June 2014.


Mike Krancer delivers the keynote address

Karr Ingham, James Beauchamp and Erica Powers discuss the effect of shale development on individual communities