Anadarko – Environmental Impacts of Hydrofracturing (2011)
Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn
Onshore “unconventional” natural gas production often requires hydraulic fracturing, which typically injects a mix of millions of gallons of water, thousands of gallons of chemicals, and particles deep underground to create fractures through which gas can flow for collection. According to the American Petroleum Institute, “up to 80 percent of natural gas wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing.”
The potential impacts of those fracturing operations stem from activities above and below the earth’s surface — including actions that are necessarily part of the life cycle of fracturing and extraction, such as assuring the integrity of well construction, and moving, storing, and disposing of significant quantities of water and toxic chemicals.
High profile contamination incidents, especially in Pennsylvania, have fueled public controversy. Pennsylvania’s Times-Shamrock Newspapers report “many of the largest operators in the Marcellus Shale have been issued violations for spills that reached waterways, leaking pits that harmed drinking water, or failed pipes that drained into farmers’ fields, killing shrubs and trees.”
Anadarko has substantial investments in the Marcellus Shale, where it plans to drill more than 4,500 wells in future years.
Public officials in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York City have called for delays or bans on fracturing. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and New York State all tightened or are considering tightening regulations and permitting requirements, though state regulations remain uneven. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is studying the potential adverse impact that hydraulic fracturing may have on water quality and public health.
A multi-sectoral assessment for investors, “Water Disclosure 2010 Global Report,” noted the existence of reputational risks from water management for the oil and gas sector.
Proponents believe these potential environmental impacts and increasing regulatory scrutiny could pose threats to Anadarko’s license to operate and enhance vulnerability to litigation. Proponents believe our company is not providing sufficient information on key business risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations. Proponents believe Anadarko should protect its long-term financial interests by taking measures beyond the existing, inconsistent regulatory requirements to reduce environmental hazards and associated business risks.
Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report by October 2011, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information such as proprietary or legally prejudicial data, summarizing: 1) Known and potential environmental impacts of Anadarko’s fracturing operations; and, 2) Policy options for our company to adopt, above and beyond regulatory requirements and our company’s existing efforts, to reduce or eliminate hazards to air, water, and soil quality from fracturing operations.