This excerpt taken from the CHK 10-K filed Mar 2, 2009.
Natural gas and oil drilling and producing operations can be hazardous and may expose us to environmental liabilities.
Natural gas and oil operations are subject to many risks, including well blowouts, cratering and explosions, pipe failures, fires, formations with abnormal pressures, uncontrollable flows of oil, natural gas, brine or well fluids, and other environmental hazards and risks. Our drilling operations involve risks from high pressures and from mechanical difficulties such as stuck pipes, collapsed casings and separated cables. If any of these risks occurs, we could sustain substantial losses as a result of:
There is inherent risk of incurring significant environmental costs and liabilities in our exploration and production operations due to our generation, handling, and disposal of materials, including wastes and petroleum hydrocarbons. We may incur joint and several, strict liability under applicable U.S. federal and state environmental laws in connection with releases of petroleum hydrocarbons and other hazardous substances at, on, under or from our leased or owned properties, some of which have been used for natural gas and oil exploration and production activities for a number of years, often by third parties not under our control. For our non-operated properties, we are dependent on the operator for operational and regulatory compliance. While we may maintain insurance against some, but not all, of the risks described above, our insurance may not be adequate to cover casualty losses or liabilities, and our insurance does not cover penalties or fines that may be assessed by a governmental authority. Also, in the future we may not be able to obtain insurance at premium levels that justify its purchase.
In addition, studies have suggested that emissions of certain gases, commonly referred to as greenhouse gases, may be impacting the Earths climate. Methane, a primary component of natural gas, and carbon dioxide, a byproduct of the burning of natural gas, are examples of greenhouse gases. The U.S. Congress and various states have been evaluating climate-related legislation and other regulatory initiatives that would restrict emissions of greenhouse gases in areas in which we conduct business. Such restrictions may have an effect on demand for our products, particularly because natural gas is viewed by many as a readily available replacement for more carbon intensive sources of energy. Likewise, such restrictions may result in additional compliance obligations with respect to the release, capture and use of carbon dioxide that could have an adverse effect on our operations.
It is customary in our industry to use hydraulic fracturing a process that creates a fracture extending from the well bore in a rock formation to enable gas or oil to move more easily through the rock pores to a production well. Fractures are typically created through the injection of water and chemicals into the rock formation. Legislative and regulatory efforts at the federal level and in some states have been made to render permitting and compliance requirements more stringent for hydraulic fracturing. Such efforts could have an adverse effect on our operations.