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West Virginia Fair Pooling Bill Making Headway in Legislature

A bill, HB2688, designed to allow oil and gas operators to create oil and gas production units without the express authority of all oil and gas owners within the unit boundary, is currently pending before the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee.  The bill would require the owners of 80% of the interests in any given unit boundary to agree to pooling and unitization for horizontal wells before an operator could apply to the West Virginia Conservation Commission for a “horizontal well unit order.” Proponents say that the bill could reduce the administrative burdens against operations in the West Virginia Marcellus Shale region by allowing oil and gas operators to commence operations without locating unknown, un-locatable or abandoning oil and gas owners. Opponents fear that the bill, if passed, would be used to infringe individual landowners’ rights. The bill has already passed the West Virginia House Energy Committee.