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Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia Ranked Globally in Petroleum Survey

By Kurt Krieger

West Virginia ranked tenth, down from sixth in 2011; Ohio ranked 14th, down from second; and Pennsylvania ranked 34th, an improvement from 65th place in 2011 in the sixth annual Fraser Institute Global Petroleum Survey, published by the Canada-based think tank.

Out of 147 jurisdictions ranked in the All Inclusive Index, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and North Dakota took the top four places with the Canadian province of Manitoba rounding out the top five. The Netherlands was ranked sixth, New Mexico and Kansas seventh and eighth respectively and Denmark ninth.

Read the complete survey results.

The survey queries petroleum industry executives and managers on their opinions regarding barriers to investment in upstream oil and gas exploration and production worldwide. The results rank provinces, states and countries according to the perceived barriers named by the survey respondents.

According to the respondents, the greatest barriers to investment include: high tax rates, costly regulatory schemes, uncertainty over environmental regulations and the interpretation and administration of regulations governing the petroleum industry and security threats.

The jurisdictions with the highest rankings are the ones with the fewest perceived barriers. The jurisdictions with the most negative responses, or greatest perceived barriers, are ranked lowest. For 2012, the United States dominated the top spots with several states moving up a few notches in the rankings compared to 2011.

The Fraser Institute noted in the results that though several states tumbled in the All Inclusive Index rankings versus 2011, their index values changed little.

Ohio fell in the rankings due its increased regulations along with a proposed increase in the severance tax according to comments left by one survey respondent. In Pennsylvania, "No legal history to interpret leases and obligations" helped determine its position in the index.

A total of 623 respondents representing 529 companies provided enough data to evaluate 147 jurisdictions, an increase from 135 jurisdictions in last year's survey. 

Kurt Krieger focuses his practice in the area of energy law with experience representing regulated companies and interested parties before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") and state and commonwealth public service or utility commissions.

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