Babst Calland: Ohio Trial Courts Issue Additional Rulings on the Dormant Mineral Act

By Michael T. Altvater | Two Ohio trial courts issued new decisions on Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act (“DMA”) addressing an unsettled issue of law concerning whether the 1989 or 2006 version of the DMA should apply to current disputes over the ownership of severed mineral rights. Both...

Babst Calland: National Transportation Safety Board Identifies Pipeline Safety as Key Issue

By Jonathan E. Dan The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has included “enhancing pipeline safety” on its 2014 Most Wanted List , which identifies its top 10 priorities for the year. The NTSB warns that although “[p]ipelines remain one of the safest and most efficient means...

Babst Calland: EPA Issues Advisory Concerning Design of Newly Constructed Natural Gas Processing Plants

By Jonathan E. Dan The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued an Interim Chemical Accident Prevention Advisory concerning the design of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) installations at natural gas processing plants. EPA has found that some existing plants were constructed in accordance...

West Virginia State University Designs Energy Management Concentration to Support West Virginia’s Growing Natural Gas Industry

By Briana J. Marino West Virginia State University has developed a new academic program designed to educate the next generation of oil and gas employees, developers, and industrialists in the Appalachian region. WVSU now offers a Concentration in Energy Management associated with its Bachelor of Science...

Cadwalader Client & Friends Memo: FERC Enforcement Director Calls for Legislative Fix to Address Hunter Decision

On January 15, 2014, Mr. Norman Bay, Director of the Office of Enforcement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ( FERC ), testified at a Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection hearing entitled “Regulating Financial Holding Companies and Physical Commodities...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: OSHA: Coming to a Drilling Site Near You

By Lindsay M. Bouffard and David E. Dick In an effort to reduce fatalities in the oil and gas industry, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) created an Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program . This program, implemented in 2012, applies to all worksites in Texas, among other states....

Babst Calland: West Virginia Senate Passes Future Fund Bill

By Ben Milleville The West Virginia Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 461 , known as The Future Fund Bill, on February 21 st . The Bill, as described in an Associated Press story published in the Charleston Gazette, would create a new fund that would be financed by 25 percent of the severance...

Babst Calland: West Virginia Cracker Plant Could Have Multibillion Dollar Impact on State Economy

By W. Brian Nickerson As reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times , the proposed ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, could potentially have a multi-billion dollar positive effect on the state’s economy. Emeritus Professor of Economics Tom S. Witt of West Virginia University...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FERC Takes Further Action to Promote Gas and Electric Industry Coordination

B y Kurt L. Krieger On March 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued three separate but related items as part of FERC’s ongoing efforts to address gas and electric industry coordination issues arising from the increased reliance on natural gas for electricity...

Babst Calland: EPA Proposes Amendments to Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

By Meredith Odato Graham This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposal to amend Subpart W of the greenhouse gas reporting program rules, which affects the Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems source category. According to EPA’s fact sheet , “[t]he proposal...

Babst Calland: Pa. House Panel Approves Bill To Reform Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act

By Elena L. Rorabaugh As reported by legal news website Law360 , a Pennsylvania bill was approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee that would amend the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979 (GMRA) and will move to the House floor. House Bill 1684 would amend the GMRA to clarify...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Court Favors Surface Owner in Dormant Mineral Act Ruling

Walker v. Noon was recently decided by the Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals. Walker is noteworthy because it is the first appellate level decision addressing the automatic reversion provision under the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com...

Babst Calland: Ohio Decision Results in Victory for Oil and Gas Producers

By Jason M. Zoeller An Ohio trial court issued a decision in Marshall v. Beekay Company . The case involved an action seeking declaratory judgment as to leasehold rights for formations below the Germantown Sand Formation. The court ruled that there was no breach of the implied covenant to reasonably...

Babst Calland: Ohio Appellate Court Enforces Change In Ownership Clause in Lease

By Jessica L. Henry The Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision in Trico Land Company, LLC v. Kenoil Producing LLC , upholding the right to have and enforce a change of ownership clause in an oil and gas lease. The case involved a property subject to a 2008 oil and...

Babst Calland: Natural Gas Fueled Powerplant Planned for Marshall County, West Virginia

By Morgan Condra Plans by Moundsville Power LLC to build a natural gas power plant were approved by members of the Marshall County Commission on April 22, 2014. The proposed 549 megawatt natural gas power plant is considered the first “downstream” project of its kind in West Virginia,...

Babst Calland: Ohio Trial Court Issues Dormant Mineral Act Decision

By Michael T. Altvater A Harrison County trial court issued a decision in a Dormant Mineral Act case addressing the issue of whether a release of an oil and gas lease is a title transaction affecting and preserving a severed mineral interest from being abandoned. The trial court in Schucht v. Bedway...

DLA Piper Climate Change Alert: EPA Announces Carbon Regulations For Existing Power Plants

By Deborah E. Jennings , Andrew B. Schatz and Catherine B. Campbell The Environmental Protection Agency has announced long-awaited regulations to reduce carbon-dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from existing power plants pursuant to the Clean Air Act. EPA's Clean Power Plan would for the first time establish...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Mineral Lessees Have Surface Rights Across Non-Producing Pooled Tracts

By Christina A. Denmark, Of Counsel, and Russell L. Schetroma, Member On June 20, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that a mineral lessee has the right to use a road to cross the surface of non-producing pooled tracts. This decision is critical for oil and gas producers , as it clarifies the ability...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Zoning Restrictions on Oil and Gas

On June 30, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that under the “Home Rule” principle, towns may ban oil and gas production activities, including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing, through the use of local zoning laws in the case of Wallach v. Town of Dryden . The Court ruled that...

Babst Calland: Energy Transfer Partners Approves Construction of New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline

By Michael T. Altvater Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.’s board of directors has approved the construction of a new pipeline to transport gas to markets in the United States and Canada. The pipeline’s capacity is proposed to transport 2.2 billion cubic feet per day and may be expanded up...

Babst Calland: Ohio Oil and Gas Production Soars

By Michael T. Altvater Oil and gas production increased by 640% from 2012 to 2013 according to a report published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The one year increase was the largest in Ohio history and is the most natural gas that Ohio has produced since 1982. Much of the increase is...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania House and Senate Pass Budget Without Marcellus Gas Severance Tax

By Matthew L. Lambach Marcellus Drilling News reports that the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a budget that did not include a Marcellus Shale severance tax. Governor Tom Corbett withheld his signature while he continues to work with lawmakers on pension reform. Copyright 2014 • Babst...

Duane Morris LLP: D.C. Circuit Ruling Has Potential Implications for Natural Gas Pipeline and LNG Projects Under FERC Environmental Review

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected certain portions of an environmental analysis conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or "Commission"). This turn of events is likely to cause anyone with, or planning to have, a...

Norton Rose Fulbright: Commerce Announces Russian Oil Industry Export Controls

By Stephen M. McNabb , Stefan Reisinger , Kimberly Hope Caine and Gwen S. Green On August 1, 2014, the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS") issued a final rule imposing a licensing requirement for the export of a wide range of items to Russia that are intended...

Norton Rose Fulbright: U.S. Proposes Stringent Standards For Rail Transport Of Flammable Liquids

By Eva Fromm O'Brien , Bob Greenslade , Jennifer Blair Caplan , Alan Harvie and Jean Piette On July 23, 2014, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ("PHMSA"), an agency within the US Department of Transportation ("DOT"), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking...