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...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: New Study Says Methane Leakage from Shale Gas Lower Than Alleged

By Armando F. Benincasa Initial findings from a new comprehensive study released Monday undertaken by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Texas found that methane leakage rates from natural gas systems were far below estimates of previous studies. In 2011, a study released from Cornell...

Babst Calland: New York’s Highest Court Sets Briefing Schedule in Local Gas Drilling Ban Cases

The New York Court of Appeals on September 30, 2013 set a schedule for the parties to file briefs in two cases that will likely have a substantial impact on the future of hydraulic fracturing in the state. In August of this year, the Court of Appeals granted review of two cases which upheld local natural...

Babst Calland: Lawsuit Filed Against Ohio Water District for Leasing and Water Sales

Two Ohio groups recently issued a press release regarding a lawsuit which has been filed against the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District over its oil and gas leasing practices and its sale of water for hydraulic fracturing. The MWCD, tasked with reducing flooding, conservation and providing recreational...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. Environmental Hearing Board Tosses First Utica Conservation Act Applications

By Russell L. Schetroma and Nathaniel I. Holland | Hilcorp Energy Company filed the first application for spacing orders under Pennsylvania's 1960s vintage Oil and Gas Conservation Law affecting Utica shale operations with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) on July...