The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed legislation that would allow operators drilling the Marcellus Shale and other shallower formations to pool landowners into units. HB 2688 passed the chamber 60-40 and now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Similar measures have failed for years over concerns about property rights. Currently, forced pooling is allowed for deep wells below the Marcellus, such as the Utica Shale. The legislation would require drillers to acquire or lease at least 80% of the net acreage in a proposed unit (see Shale Daily, Feb. 18). Pooling allows an operator to gather both consenting and nonconsenting landowners into a unit in which they share royalties and production costs.
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