West Virginia’s natural gas industry is “anxiously awaiting” Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s signature on co-tenancy legislation that would modernize the mineral law and better accommodate unconventional development in the state.
Articles from Owners
Two controversial proposals for the robust Bakken oil patch in North Dakota came to an end Monday with more of a whimper than a bang, according to the three-member Industrial Commission.
A class action lawsuit in Ohio pending in a Youngstown court could affect property owners attempting to rid themselves of original lease agreements with oil and natural gas operators.
NGI’s Shale Daily reported that lawmakers in Pennsylvania had passed a bill that the state chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) opposes because it would allow forced pooling, and that it was unclear if Gov. Tom Corbett, a foe of forced pooling, would sign it (see Shale Daily, July 5). Patrick Henderson, Corbett’s energy adviser, told NGI’s Shale Daily the administration still opposes forced pooling, but doesn’t believe SB 259 would allow the practice. “Nothing in SB 259 requires someone to lease their land; changes the terms of a lease; or reduces the royalties paid to landowners,” Henderson said. “SB 259 is not forced pooling and has no relation to forced pooling.” The governor, he said, has until Wednesday (July 10) to decide whether to sign the bill.
West Virginia’s legal system continues to struggle with surface rights issues, with the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals finding recently that the term “surface” means just what it says and does not include underground resources.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is revising the deadline by which owners or operators of facilities subject to the petroleum and natural gas systems source category of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule must submit requests for use of best available monitoring methods (BAMM) to the agency. Specifically, the agency is moving up the prior deadline of Sept. 30 to June 30, according to a final rule published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The amendment now reads: “For reporting years after 2012, a new request to use best available monitoring methods must be submitted by June 30 of the year prior to the reporting year for which use of [BAMM] is sought.” The EPA said it is not proposing any other changes related to BAMM for oil and gas. Affected facilities would be natural gas pipelines, local distribution companies, oil and gas drilling facilities and natural gas liquids extraction facilities.
A lawsuit filed by a several Barnett Shale mineral owners accuses Chesapeake Energy Corp. of selling natural gas to an affiliate for a reduced price and basing royalty payments on those sales, which violates the terms of the lease agreements.
Encore Energy Inc., acting in its capacity as lease advisor to mineral rights owners in eastern Ohio’s portion of the Utica Shale, announced Wednesday that it was currently shopping multiple tracts of “add-on” acreage to operators in the play.
Penn Virginia Corp.’s 40% working interest partner in its Lavaca County, TX, Eagle Ford Shale acreage has elected to go “nonconsent” on the last 17 initial unit wells on the acreage. Penn Virginia said it will seek a partner to acquire the 40% working interest. Of 17 initial unit wells, seven have been drilled, two are being drilled and eight remain to be drilled, the company said. The current working interest partner will have no participatory rights in any subsequent wells drilled in the unit. As a result, Penn Virginia’s net Eagle Ford acreage in Lavaca County will increase from about 9,200 acres to about 13,400 acres upon the drilling of all of the initial unit wells. “We expect that each of the drilling units will support up to an additional four primary development wells after the initial well,” Penn Virginia said. “To date, our Lavaca County wells have generally met or exceeded expectations with average reserves of approximately 500,000 boe and attractive economics.” In October, Penn Virginia acquired about 4,100 net Eagle Ford acres in Gonzales and Lavaca counties for about $10 million. Other nonoperated working interest owners were expected to acquire some of the acreage (see Shale Daily, Oct. 4). One year ago, the company said it was exploring the Eagle Ford with an undisclosed “major oil and gas company” (see Shale Daily, Dec. 21, 2011).