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Course Description

Contemporary Issues in Oil & Gas Development | L47xx

Despite the world’s efforts to decarbonize, fossil fuels – particularly oil and gas -- are projected to remain important and will remain the dominant source of energy power for the global economy at least through 2035 according to the “BP Global Energy Outline to 2035” report. According to the report gas will be the fastest growing fossil fuel at 1.8 percent per year while oil usage will increase about 1 percent per year.

This course considers some of the most important current issues involving oil and gas development, most prominently of which deals with unconventional oil land gas development. This development is now taking place as a result of the deployment of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling. While this new technology has revolutionized oil and gas development it has also created major legal and social issues that will be covered in the course. These issues will be considered both in a domestic (i.e., US) as well as an international (e.g., Argentina and China) context. Colorado is perhaps the most interesting U.S. state in terms of regulating unconventional development, and thus it will be emphasized. Other issues that will be discussed include: (1) litigation associated with unconventional development; (2) transportation of the fuels; (3) the current state of the oil and gas business and its impact on development; and (4) political questions that are playing a key role in how receptive states and the federal government are (or aren’t) to unconventional development.

The course will include a number of guest speakers who will explain how they or their organization are involved in the underlying issues. The course will conclude with a final paper, which will be due several weeks after the final course meeting.

Prerequisites: N/A
Credit Hours: 2
ULW: This course does not satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement (ULW)


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Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208

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