Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Production 'Irrelevant' Under Flat-Rate Leases

By Bridget D. Furbee A good outcome for oil and gas operators in West Virginia was provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on May 7, 2013. Referencing "... longstanding West Virginia law," the Court affirmed the validity of a 1933 lease finding "... the quantity...

William A. Ruskin: Are Environmentalists Who Oppose Wind Farms Environmentalists?

By William A. Ruskin Wind power can help address the nation's compelling demand for electric power without increasing greenhouse gas emissions or enlarging our carbon footprint. Environmental activists, who are critical of the use of fossil fuels due to their perceived negative impact on the environment...

William A. Ruskin: Balancing The Rights Of Landowners, Wind Power Developers And Mineral Rights Owners

By William A. Ruskin It is the dream of many landowners in the United States to one day have both oil wells and wind turbines on their land. For this happen, however, landowners must play an active role in keeping oil and wind companies from trying to overreach each other in concurrent development...

State Net Capitol Journal: U.S. Leads World in Shale Oil Production - For Now

The United States is currently the world leader in shale oil production, on pace to produce more than 3 million barrels of shale oil per day within the next few years. But new estimates of the world's potential shale resources by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest America could eventually...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Attorney General Rules Counties May Sell Water to Oil and Gas Operators

The Ohio Attorney General's office was recently asked to give its opinion on a county's authority to sell water that is available to oil and gas drillers in need of large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing purposes. Specifically, Harrison County had inquired about the legality of entering...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of 'Surface' Deeds

By Ryan J. Morgan Yesterday the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, in Faith United Methodist Church v. Morgan , No. 12-0080, 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 691 (June 13, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ] issued an important opinion for title practitioners clarifying the meaning...

California Energy Group Defends Oil and Gas Leasing

DENVER - A California nonprofit, non-partisan trade association that represents some 450 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners, and service and supply companies on Juje 25 filed its brief with a California federal district court defending federal oil and gas leasing in the nation’s...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: What Constitutes ‘Commencing a Well’ in Pennsylvania

By Lori A. Dawkins and Brian J. Pulito On May 24, 2013, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a Memorandum Opinion in which it addressed what activities constitute “commencing a well” ( Good Will Hunting Club, Inc. v. Range Resources-Appalachia...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Know How: Oil and Gas Regulation Sole Domain of State of Ohio

By Katerina E. Milenkovski, Of Counsel (Originally printed in the ABA Litigation News) The state of Ohio has the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas drilling, according to an Ohio appellate court that rejected attempts by a city to impose additional requirements as a matter of “home...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Implied Covenant to Develop in Ohio Negated by Express Language in Lease: Bilbaran Farm Inc. v. Bakerwell Inc., et al.

By Timothy M. McKeen and Jason Lucas On June 12, 2013, Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals held that a general waiver of implied covenants in an oil and gas lease negates the lessee’s duty to develop other formations and acreage ( Bilbaran Farm, Inc. v. Bakerwell, Inc., et al. , No. 12...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Lease Act Signed Into Law, Addresses Joint Development

On July 9, 2013, Governor Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 259, also known as the Oil and Gas Lease Act (Act), amending the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act. In addition to providing new rights and requirements as to payments resulting from the production under oil and gas leases, the Act authorizes...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: DOJ Ramps Up Interest in Oil and Gas Industry

By Gordon H. Copland, Russell D. Jessee and Nathaniel I. Holland Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division reached an agreement with two natural gas producers who each paid fines of over one-half million dollars to settle claims of anticompetitive collaboration in lease purchasing...

Mediation in Oil and Gas Law Disputes

By Lisa C. McManus, Esq. [1] | Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise wherever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Overtime Issues Troubling the Energy Sector

By Lindsay M. Bouffard As a result of the expansion of oil and gas activities in the region and the increasing jobs associated with the expansion, the Department of Labor has been stepping up its enforcement initiative for oil and gas companies and related businesses. Because of this, it has become...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Energy Employers Face Increased Enforcement Activities

By C. David Morrison and Rodney L. Bean Representatives of the West Virginia Department of Labor (WVDOL) have begun visiting drilling sites in the state to make sure that all people receiving 1099 income are registered to do business in West Virginia, as required by law. If not registered, businesses...

Babst Calland: Ohio Considers New Rules for Oil, Gas Wastewater Storage

State officials are considering new rules to regulate storage of wastewater used to stimulate wells for the production of oil and gas. The new rules would potentially create new options for shale well producers to store millions of gallons of water in lagoons so that it can be cleaned and re-used in...

Land Owner Concedes Strict Liability Claim in Compressor Station Case

Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog reports that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently granted in part and denied in part Texas Eastern Transmission, L.P.’s motion to dismiss and or strike a personal injury complaint by a neighboring land owner. In Koziel v....

Transco Asks FERC to Authorize Leidy Southeast Pipeline Project

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) recently filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for authorization to construct and operate the Leidy Southeast Project. According to the application, the Leidy Southeast Project would...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: PUC of Ohio Finalizes Rules Implementing SB 315’s New Requirements For Gas Gathering

By Kathy Milenkovski. On October 30, 2013, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (“PUCO”) finalized rules proposed late last year to implement new requirements brought about by the enactment of Senate Bill 315 and to clarify the applicability of the existing rules, in particular to gas...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Employers Can't Shorten the Statute of Limitations for FLSA and EPA Claims

By Lindsay M. Bouffard Observant employers who have taken note of the Department of Labor’s increasing enforcement activity in the oil and gas industry may be looking for creative ways to limit their liability. However, a recent Sixth Circuit case makes it clear that trying to shorten employees’...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Legislative Changes to Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act and Lease Forfeiture Statute

By Timothy M. McKeen and Jason Lucas | Ohio House Bill 72 (“ HB 72 ”), effective January 29, 2014, outlines important changes to filing for lease forfeiture or mineral abandonment under Ohio's Dormant Mineral Act by making an individual who seeks to forfeit a lease or abandon minerals...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Mechanical Integrity Assessment in Pennsylvania

By Stephen C. Smith Well operators in Pennsylvania must inspect each operating well at least quarterly to ensure it is in compliance with the well construction and operating requirements as required by Pa. Code title 25, § 78.88 . At a minimum, inspections must determine: (1) The well-head...

State Net Capitol Journal: Alaska Considering Investing Billions In Pipeline Project

A study commissioned by the state of Alaska that was released last week suggested that a direct investment by the state in a long-sought liquefied natural gas pipeline project might improve the project's prospects. The $424,000 study, conducted by a team that included New Hampshire-based oil consultant...

State Net Capitol Journal: Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper Proposes New Colorado Drilling Regulations

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) last week proposed new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling operations in the Centennial State. His proposals include a first-in-the-nation call to force drillers to reduce the emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas linked to global...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal In Caldwell v. Kriebel

By Lawrence H. Baumiller On November 26, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision in Caldwell v. Kriebel Resources Co. [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], which held that an oil and gas lease does not contain an implied...