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...

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...

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...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Appeals Court Overturns Ruling That Held Certain Oil And Gas Leases Were Void

In Hupp v. Beck , Ohio’s 7th District Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s decision that certain oil and gas leases were void ab initio (i.e. at their inception) because the trial court considered them to be a “no term or perpetual lease” due to the delay rental provisions...