Pennsylvania court agrees to re-consider injunction allowing pre-fracking tests

Upon a request from over 60 Pennsylvania landowners, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward agreed to re-consider her granting of an injunction to allow an oil and gas production company “reasonable ingress, egress, access to and use of the…properties of…sixteen (16) oil and gas leases…for the purpose of performing seismic testing.” In their motion for reconsideration, the landowners argued that the company failed to “make the required very strong showing that it is entitled to the mandatory preliminary injunction.” The hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2014.

The injunction was granted in December, with a memorandum opinion issued on January 6, 2014. In the memorandum, the Court found that the oil company had met its burden for the granting of preliminary injunctive relief by (i) establishing that it would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if not allowed to do the testing, (ii) showing that the balance of injuries weighed in favor of the company (a 60-day delay in testing would cost the company about $3,000,000, and no testing would result in over-drilling and underproduction), (iii) restoring the status quo, (iv) showing the likelihood of prevailing on the merits (valid and enforceable leases that allow 3-D seismic testing), and (v) establishing that an injunction was a reasonable remedy and (vi) in the public interest.

For additional information, see previous blog “Landowners ordered to allow producer to begin preliminary pre-fracking tests.”

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson ( or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.