Revised SB 576: Co-Tenancy and Lease Integration Bill Fails in West Virginia

Senate Bill 576 (SB 576), introduced in the West Virginia Senate to address the oil and natural gas industry’s effort to efficiently develop production of natural resources, died in the last week of the regular session of the West Virginia Legislature(…)

Revised SB 576: Yet Another Version of the Co-Tenancy and Lease Integration Bill Introduced in West Virginia

On March 23, 2017, a Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 576 (SB 576) was introduced to the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee that substantially rewrote the original version of the bill, which addressed the oil and natural gas industry’s effor(…)

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court’s Order To Terminate A Portion Of An Oil And Gas Lease And Eject Operator

On March 17, 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a trial court’s 2015 order that severed and terminated a portion of an oil and gas lease.  The subject lease covered 240 acres located in Venango County, Pennsylvania, which was subsequent(…)

SB 576: Revised Co-Tenancy and Lease Integration Legislation Introduced in West Virginia

On March 10, 2017, Senate Bill 576 (SB 576) was introduced in the West Virginia Senate to take the place of SB 244, which addressed the oil and natural gas industry’s effort to efficiently develop production of natural resources. Similar to SB 244, SB(…)

Ohio Supreme Court Rules on Interpretation of Ohio Dormant Mineral Act

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court issued three written opinions interpreting the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (O.R.C. §5301.56) (the “ODMA”) and decided 10 related cases based upon its decisions set forth in the written opinions. Notably, in Corban v. Chesape(…)

Shell Officially Announces it will Build Ethane Cracker Plant in Beaver County, PA

After first acquiring an option agreement in 2012 for a 340-acre site, and then purchasing the site in 2014, Shell Chemical Appalachia has officially announced that it will build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant on the site of the former Ho(…)

Statement from Environmental Regulatory Attorney Jean Mosites Who Testified at Yesterday’s Chapter 78 Hearing in Harrisburg

The following statement is from Babst Calland environmental regulatory attorney Jean Mosites who provided testimony at yesterday’s daylong public hearing on the subject of proposed revisions to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78 submitted by the Department of Env(…)

Pennsylvania IRRC Approves Chapter 78/78a Regulations

On April 21, 2016, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the Environmental Quality Board’s Chapter 78 (conventional wells) and Chapter 78a (unconventional wells) regulations by a vote of 3-2.  Vice Chairman Mizner, in making a m(…)

Ohio Supreme Court Resolves Hupp v. Beck Energy Once and For All

The Ohio Supreme Court definitively decided a case that at one time threatened the validity of thousands of Ohio oil and gas leases. As previously reported in April of 2014, the Seventh District Court of Appeals overturned the decision of the Monroe C(…)

Ohio Oil and Gas Commission Issues First Decision on Forced Pooling

The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission issued its first decision under R.C. 1509.28 to provide for the compulsory pooling of property for oil and gas unit operations. In Gary L. Teeter Revocable Trust v. Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management, the Oh(…)

Court Holds 1961 Dual Purpose Lease Still In Effect

In the case titled Mason v. Range Res.-Appalachia LLC (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97471), the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently held that a 1961 oil and gas lease remained in effect pursuant to the terms of the(…)

Ohio Adopts Oil And Gas Regulatory Changes In Its Biennial Budget Legislation

Ohio’s biennial budget legislation, House Bill 64, signed by the Governor on June 30, 2015, includes changes and additions to Ohio’s oil and gas regulatory program appearing in Chapter 1509 of the Revised Code.  The changes and additions take effect o(…)

PA Governor Tom Wolf Bans New Gas Leases For Commonwealth-Owned Lands

Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf fulfilled a campaign promise by signing an executive order banning new oil and gas leases on public land owned by the Commonwealth.  This order ended the efforts of former Governor Tom Corbett to expand oil and ga(…)

Court Rules That Search For Heirs Of Oil And Gas Estate Deficient

On January 27, 2015, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order by the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County in Sisson, et al. v. Stanley, et al.   The trial court’s order allowed the heirs of Joseph Stanley, who previously reserved all t(…)

Proposed Bill Would Provide Public Utility Commission With Power To Order Unitization In Some Circumstances

On January 23, 2015, Pennsylvania Senator Gene Yaw introduced Senate Bill 313 (SB 313), which would provide a process for persons actively engaged in the business of extracting oil or gas, who own or leased at least 65% of the working interests in a p(…)

Three Oil and Gas Bills Pass Pennsylvania Senate Panel

A Pennsylvania senate committee recently unanimously approved two bills regarding oil and gas royalty calculations.  StateImpact Pennsylvania reported that Senate Bills 147 and 148 were approved by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committ(…)

Ohio EPA, Ohio Division Of Oil And Gas Resources Management, And Ohio Department Of Health Issue A Joint Guidance Letter On Landfill Disposal Of Oil And Gas Production Waste

Ohio EPA, the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, and the Ohio Department of Health, on November 17, 2014, jointly issued a four-page guidance letter on how Ohio regulates the landfill disposal of oil and gas production waste.  The lett(…)

Four Veteran West Virginia Attorneys Join Babst Calland's Charleston Office as Shareholders

Veteran attorneys Timothy Miller from Robinson & McElwee, and Christopher ‘Kip” Power, Mychal Schulz and Robert Stonestreet from the Charleston office of Dinsmore & Shohl have joined forces with Babst Calland in providing senior-level legal co(…)

Proposed PA Legislation Seeks to Require Use of Steel Products Produced in U.S.

Two pieces of proposed legislation were introduced to the Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday, July 31. Each has been referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Senate Bill 1458, if passed, would amend Title 58 by requiring that(…)

Commonwealth Court Issues Decision On Remaining Issues In Act 13 Case

In its far-reaching decision in Robinson v. Commonwealth, which was issued on December 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated several critical provisions of Act 13.  Additionally, the Supreme Court remanded to the Commonwealth Court to a(…)

Pennsylvania’s Landlord and Tenant Act Is not Applicable to Oil and Gas Leases

In a recent opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed whether Pennsylvania’s Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (the “Act”), and the applicable statute of frauds contained therein, applies to oil and gas leases.  In Nolt v. TS Calkins & Asso(…)

PA House and Senate Pass Budget Without Severance Tax

Marcellus Drilling News reports that the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a budget that did not include a Marcellus Shale severance tax.  Governor Tom Corbett withheld his signature while he continues to work with lawmakers on pension reform.

Babst Calland Releases Fourth Annual Energy Industry Report

“The 2014 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Shale Industry in Transition: Evolving Challenges for Producers and Midstream Operators” comments on key issues facing producers and midstream operators from a legal and regulatory perspective, including: G(…)

Findlay Township Approves Drill Sites At Pittsburgh International Airport

On April 23, 2014, the Findlay Township Board of Supervisors approved the conditional use application of CONSOL Energy, Inc.’s affiliate, CNX Gas Company LLC, to construct on the property of the Pittsburgh International Airport 6 well pads, up to 60 u(…)

Ohio EPA Issues Revised General Air Permits For Horizontal Drilling Sites Requiring More Aggressive Methane Leak Detection and Repair

As reported by the Akron Beacon Journal Online on April 4, 2014, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued revised general permits for the installation and operation of air contaminant sources at oil and gas horizontal well sites to address meth(…)

West Virginia Future Fund Signed Into Law

The Future Fund Bill, which was passed by the House on February 25th, was signed into law by West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin on March 20th, reports the West Virginia Metro News.  As described in an earlier post on this blog, the Future Fund wi(…)

West Virginia Future Fund Bill Passed by Legislature

As originally described in a post by Ben Milleville on February 25th, amended Senate Bill 461, known as The Future Fund Bill, has passed the Senate and now awaits ratification by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.  As the West Virginia State Journal reports,(…)

West Virginia One Step Closer to Seeing a Cracker Plant Constructed

West Virginia’s Ohio River region is one step closer to seeing construction begin on a cracker plant in the Wood County area.  According to the Charleston Gazette, Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, owned by Brazilian based Odebrecht, purchased the(…)

CONSOL Will Utilize Electric Engines For Airport Drilling

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that CONSOL Energy Inc. will use electric engines when it drills at the Pittsburgh International Airport.  On Tuesday December 17, the Findlay Township Planning Commission gave an affirmative recommendation to app(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decides Act 13 Case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that several critical provisions of Act 13, the General Assembly’s 2012 comprehensive update to the former Oil and Gas Act, are unconstitutional.  In addition to invalidating a key section of Act 13 placing lim(…)

Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Dismisses Request To Establish Well Spacing And Drilling Units

On August 26, 2013, Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp) filed a complaint and application requesting that the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (PAEHB) issue an order to establish well spacing and drilling units pursuant to the Oil and Gas Conserv(…)

Third Circuit Rules In Favor Of Shell Because Of Lease Unitization Clause

On November 18, 2013, the Third Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling out of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in favor of Shell Western Exploration and Production, LP (Shell) in a case captioned as George W. Linder, et al. v. SWEPI, LP, a/k/a(…)

Allegheny County Council Rejects Proposal To Ban Drilling In County Parks

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Allegheny County Council rejected a proposed three-year moratorium on natural gas drilling within county parks.  The measure failed 2-9, with four council members abstaining because of conflicts of interest.  T(…)

Federal District Court Denies Request To Use Eminent Domain Authority To Relocate Interstate Gas Pipeline

On October 24, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC’s (Columbia) request to use the eminent domain authority provided in the Natural Gas Act to acquire new pipeline easements from(…)

Royalty Reduction Lawsuit Moves Forward With Class Certification

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has accepted in part the recommendations of a magistrate judge, and has granted the motion to certify two classes of plaintiffs in Pollock v. Energy Corp. of America. A third cl(…)

STRONGER Issues Final Report Regarding its Follow-up Review Of Pennsylvania Oil And Gas Regulatory Program

As we reported back in May of this year, a review team assembled by the State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (“STRONGER”) completed an in-state review of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Program.  STRONGER’s review team(…)

Smaller Companies Using Marcellus Technology In Shallow Well Drilling

Utilizing technologies that created the Marcellus Shale boom in Western Pennsylvania, smaller operators in the region are beginning to rework their shallow wells, as well as drill new ones, to explore and produce shallower formations. Rather than dril(…)

EPA Revises SPCC Guidance to Promote National Consistency

U.S. EPA recently revised its oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) program guidance to help promote consistency in the way SPCC rules are administered by different EPA regions.  The SPCC rules mandate the implementation of professi(…)

Shale Gas Activity Increases Household Incomes

Last week, global research firm IHS released a report regarding the economic impact of U.S. unconventional oil and gas production, Bloomberg reported.   According to the IHS report entitled America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas R(…)

Pennsylvania Rulemaking Body to Consider Revisions to Oil and Gas Regulations

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, the Commonwealth’s environmental rulemaking body, will consider proposed rulemaking to Subchapter C to Chapter 78 of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations during its next meeting on August 27, 2013.

Shale Exploration And Production Causes Major Job Boom In The United States

As expected, the recent increase in shale production and exploration has caused a major increase in job creation in the oil and gas industry, recent reports show. According to data released by the Energy Information Administration and the U.S. Departm(…)

PA Representative Wants Pooling Provisions Repealed

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pennsylvania Representative Michele Brooks (R-Crawford) issued a memorandum on August 12, 2013 to all House members regarding her intent to introduce two pieces of legislation regarding pooling in the near(…)

Beaver County Creates Tax-Exempt Zone For Proposed Ethane Cracker Plant

The Beaver County Commissioners have approved the creation of a 325-acre tax-exempt zone aimed at enticing Shell to proceed with the construction of an ethane cracker plant in the region.  According to one commissioner, “It’s an important piece of the(…)

Superior Court Upholds Right Of Operator To Construct An Impoundment And To Utilize Hydraulic Fracturing Under Terms Of Lease

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania upheld the trial court’s decision in Humberston v. Chevron U.S.A. to grant preliminary objections in favor of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. and Keystone Vacuum, Inc., holding that Chevron and Keysone had the right under the o(…)

Indefinite Moratorium Leads To Termination Of Leases In Northeastern Pennsylvania

Hess Corporation and Newfield Exploration Company recently terminated lease agreements with about 1,300 property owners in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, where the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has imposed a moratorium on gas drilling since May(…)

Governor Signs Legislation Permitting Pooling Of Gas Drilling Units

Senate Bill Number 259, which amends the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act by allowing drillers to pool land into gas-drilling units, was signed by Governor Corbett today after fast-track approval by the Senate on June 30th.  The bill allows joint develo(…)

XTO Opens NGL Treatment Facility in Butler County, Pennsylvania

MarketWatch reports that XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, announced on June 17th the startup of a natural gas liquids recovery facility in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Located on 340 acres, the facility is the first of its kind for XTO in(…)

EQT Requires Contractors To Be Part Of ISN

EQT now requires its contractors to join ISNetWorld (ISN), a platform that gathers, organizes, and verifies pre-qualification safety data and other information.  EQT will continue to make safety requirements and approvals in-house utilizing ISN data,(…)

Court Clarifies What Constitutes "Commencement Of Drilling"

Last week, in Good Will Hunting Club, Inc. v. Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that a landowner (Good Will) was bound by a five-year extension clause in an oil and gas lease that it(…)

Appeals Court Clarifies Definition Of "Adjacent" Under The Federal Clean Air Act

In Summit Petroleum Corp. v. US EPA, 690 F.3d 733 (6th Cir. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned the US EPA’s finding that a natural gas sweetening plant and approximately 100 gas wells scattered across a 43-square-mile ar(…)

STRONGER Completes Follow-up Review Of Pennsylvania Oil And Gas Regulatory Program

Over this past week (May 28th through 31st), a review team assembled by the State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (“STRONGER”) has conducted an in-state review of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Program.  The six person(…)