New Jersey Gov. Christie enacts one-year hydraulic fracturing moratorium

By Phaedra Friend Troy

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has enacted a one-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, making the Garden State the first state in the US to ban hydraulic fracturing

In June 2011, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing in the state, and Thursday, Gov. Christie recommended a one-year moratorium on the completion method. 

The move is largely seen as a public statement, rather than a real imposition, because no operators are interested in using hydraulic fracturing in New Jersey. 

“While the Marcellus Shale formation does not underlie enough of New Jersey to make it economical to produce, and no natural gas producers are actively seeking to explore for natural gas in the Garden State, this policy sends the wrong message to an entire nation benefitting from the responsible production of clean-burning, American natural gas,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of Marcellus Shale Coalition. “Further, the governor’s decision runs contrary to his understandable and laudable promotion of the expanded use of natural gas in his state’s energy mix.” 

Shale natural gas, as found in the Marcellus Shale in the northeast United States, is prolific but trapped by tight rock formations that do not allow the hydrocarbon to flow to the surface using conventional drilling methods. In the past decade, producers have begun drilling horizontally across the formation and using multi-stage hydraulic fracturing to unlock the tight rocks and allow the hydrocarbons to flow. 

This new drilling and completion technology is changing the oil and gas market in the US and Canada, and many other countries around the world are clamoring to learn how to develop shale and unconventional resources. 

While Texas Governor Rick Perry passed a law that would require companies to publicly disclose hydraulic fracturing components but supported shale development in the Lone Star State, France recently outlawed the completion method.

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