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: 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: ODNR Releases 2012 Ohio Oil And Gas Summary

By Michael T. Altvater The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released its annual oil and gas summary for 2012. The summary provides a comprehensive review of oil and gas permitting, drilling and production activity across the entire state of Ohio. The report can be accessed here . Copyright...

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...

Troutman Sanders LLP: FERC Allows Non-public Information Sharing Between Gas Pipelines, Electric Utilities

By Troutman Sanders LLP On November 15, 2013, FERC issued Order No. 787, authorizing interstate natural gas pipelines and electric transmission operators to voluntarily share non-public, operational information with each other to promote grid reliability and operational planning. In doing so, FERC...

Babst Calland: Ohio House Of Representatives Proposes Increase In Severance Tax

By Benjamin J. Bolinger A bill to increase the severance tax on oil and gas drilling has been proposed in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 375 would increase the severance tax for horizontal shale wells to 1% for the first five years of production, and to 2% after five years, if production...

Babst Calland: Department of the Interior Releases Semiannual Statement Of Regulatory Priorities

By Jonathan E. Dan The Department of the Interior has released its Statement of Regulatory Priorities , a subsection of which highlights the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s priorities on energy issues including hydraulic fracturing. BLM’s stated highest regulatory priorities include...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FMLA Misstep Proves Costly to Energy Employer

By Lindsay M. Bouffard An oil and gas support services company recently paid more than $43,000 in back wages and agreed to reinstate a terminated employee after a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation revealed the company terminated an employee in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act...

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....

Norton Rose Fulbright: UKCS - Offshore Bareboat Chartering – Draft Legislation Published

In the Autumn Statement (5 December 2013), one announcement causing surprise and consternation to the UK North Sea oil and gas sector ( UKCS ) was that a ring fence was to be introduced in relation to certain UKCS profits made by an oil contractor, and that, within that ring fence, a cap was to be imposed...

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: 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...

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...