The 2021 Babst Calland Report Highlights Legal and Regulatory Perspectives at a Transformational Time for the U.S. Energy Industry

A Recent Conversation with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin Featured in this Report Law firm Babst Calland today published its 11th annual energy industry report: The 2021 Babst Calland Report – Legal & Regulatory Perspectives for the U.S. Energy Industry(…)

The Babst Calland Report Highlights Legal and Regulatory Challenges for the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry

The law firm of Babst Calland published its 10th annual energy industry report: The 2020 Babst Calland Report – The U.S. Oil & Gas Industry: Federal, State, Local Challenges & Opportunities; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and M(…)

Ohio’s Statutory Unitization Amended to Clarify Inclusion of Partially Leased Tracts

Ohio recently passed HB 166, effective October 17, 2019, amending Section §1509.28 of Ohio’s statutory unitization statute.  The prior version of Section §1509.28 did not specify whether all mineral owners in a tract must be leased to be included in t(…)

The 2019 Babst Calland Report Highlights Federal, State and Local Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry

The law firm of Babst Calland today released its annual energy industry report: The 2019 Babst Calland Report – The U.S. Oil and Gas Industry: Federal, State and Local Challenges & Opportunities; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and(…)

The 2018 Babst Calland Report Focuses on the Appalachian Basin Oil & Gas Industry Forging Ahead Despite Obstacles

Babst Calland today released its annual energy industry report: The 2018 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Basin Oil & Gas Industry: Forging Ahead Despite Obstacles; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and Midstream Operators.  This an(…)

Federal Court Upholds Constitutionality of Ohio’s Unitization Statute

A federal district court in Ohio recently upheld the constitutionality of Ohio’s forced pooling statute (R.C. § 1509.28) in Kerns v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC, et al., N.D. Ohio No. 5:18 CV 389 (June 13, 2018). R.C. § 1509.28 establishes the procedu(…)

Co-Tenancy Bill Signed by Governor Jim Justice

On Friday, March 9, 2018, Governor Jim Justice signed West Virginia Senate  HB 4268, known as the “Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act” into law, effective July 1, 2018.  As discussed in our post from last week, the passage of this leg(…)

Challenge to Constitutionality of Ohio’s Forced Pooling Statute Rejected on Procedural Grounds

The Ohio Supreme Court recently rejected a constitutional challenge to Ohio’s forced pooling statute in State ex rel. Kerns v. Simmers, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-256. A group of landowners (the “Landowners”) sought a writ of mandamus compelling the C(…)

Ohio Supreme Court does not Recognize Implied Covenant to Further Explore

The Supreme Court of Ohio recently ruled in Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Company, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-8, that Ohio does not recognize an implied covenant to further explore, separate and apart from the implied covenant of reasonable dev(…)

The 2017 Babst Calland Report Focuses on the Resurgence of the Appalachian Shale Gas Industry

On June 20, 2017, Babst Calland released its seventh annual energy industry report entitled The 2017 Babst Calland Report – Upstream, Midstream and Downstream: Resurgence of the Appalachian Shale Industry; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producer(…)

West Virginia House Approves Fair Pooling Bill

The West Virginia Fair Pooling bill, which we first described last week, has been approved in the West Virginia House of Delegates by a vote of 60-40.  In order to become law, the bill must be approved by the State Senate before March 14, when the leg(…)

Gastar Successfully Defeats Twin Litigation Cases in Pennsylvania and West Virginia

Judge David W. Hummel, Jr. of Marshall County, West Virginia has dismissed the second in a pair of lawsuits aimed to restrict operator Gastar Exploration, Inc.’s ability to hydraulically fracture several wells in Marshall County, West Virginia.  Accor(…)

Magnum Hunter’s West Virginia “Monster Well” the Largest Utica Well Drilled to Date

As reported by Columbus Business First and NGI’s Shale Daily, Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation’s first Utica well in West Virginia has reported production of 46.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, thereby rendering the Stewart Winland 1300(…)

West Virginia Officials Seeking Bids to Drill Under Ohio River

As reported by the West Virginia Press Association, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (“DNR”) is seeking bids for natural gas drilling on state-owned land under the Ohio River. A legal notice published on Friday, August 22 indicates that(…)

Dominion Seeks to Expand its Transmission Line Capacity in the Appalachian Region

Dominion has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve two transmission line projects that would increase Dominion’s ability to transport natural gas supplies to market from various regions.  According to the Akron Beacon Journa(…)

West Virginia Seeing Increased Utica Well Development in 2014

While Marcellus Shale gas continues to be developed in the area, West Virginia is also experiencing a Utica Shale boom in its northern counties. According to Natural Gas Intelligence, multiple operators are investing more capital and manpower into dev(…)

Pa. Senators Propose New Natural Gas Tax

On Thursday, a group of Pennsylvania state legislators, led by Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), unveiled a proposal that would impose a 5% severance tax on drillers operating in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry.  According to the legislato(…)

Allegheny County Council Approves Drilling Under Deer Lakes Park

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Allegheny County Council voted to approve a non-surface lease and drilling plan with Range Resources under Deer Lakes Park. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said that the plan would provide f(…)

Proposed Bill to Allow Unlimited Drilling Waste in West Virginia Landfills

As reported in the Spirit of Jefferson newspaper, Senate Bill 474, introduced in the West Virginia Senate on Monday, February 3, would amend W. Va. Code § 22-15-8 to allow commercial waste facilities to accept drill cuttings and associated hydraulic f(…)

MarkWest Energy and Kinder Morgan Inc. Plan to Transport Marcellus and Utica Shale Gas to Gulf Coast

As reported by The Intelligencer, MarkWest Energy and Kinder Morgan Inc. are planning to convert 1,000 miles of pipeline connecting Pennsylvania and Louisiana to allow Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to be transported to the Gulf Coast.  The project is(…)

WVU Extension Service Opens Oil and Gas Training Center

WVU’s Health and Safety Extension Division has announced the opening of a new Oil and Gas Training and Assistance Center to provide training and credentials to WV employees working in the oil and gas field.  The training center utilizes the knowledge(…)

Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases Guidance On Drilling And Completion Phases

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) announced that it has updated its recommended practices to include the Drilling and Completions phases of natural gas exploration. These recommendations cover a wide range of topics with regard to bringing a well in(…)

West Virginia Supreme Court Reverses Prior Ruling in Favor of Cabot

On September 26, 2013, in the case of Thornsbury v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (2013 W. Va. LEXIS 958), the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled that, although an oil and gas lease to Cabot affecting surface lands owned by Thornsbury c(…)

Sen. Ferlo Intends to Introduce Pennsylvania Moratorium Bill

WFMJ reports that  State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced that he will introduce Senate Bill 1100 next week, which will place a moratorium on new permits for hydraulic fracturing.  The bill, known as the Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium Act, will(…)

Doddridge County, WV Well Site Explosion Triggers Investigation as to Cause reports that there was a recent explosion and fire at a well site in Doddridge County, West Virginia.  Kathy Cosco, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia DEP, indicated that the containment system around the well site properly prevented stor(…)

PA Legislation Would Mandate Use of Closed Systems for Non-Freshwater Fluids

A bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would require use of closed containment or loop systems for all non-freshwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  Introduced by Representative Karen Boba(…)

Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Jurisdiction in "Home Rule" Case

The Ohio Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction over the closely watched “home rule” case State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. At issue are the state laws which give the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole and exclusive authority to regulate(…)

Doddridge County, WV Floodplain Drilling Moratorium Lifted

The Exponent Telegram reports a moratorium on floodplain oil and gas drilling permits in Doddridge County, WV has been lifted.  The Doddridge County Commission voted 2-1 on June 4, 2013 to lift the moratorium, which had been in place since December 18(…)

CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy Plan West Virginia Projects

The Clarksburg Exponent Telegram reports that CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy are planning projects located in Upshur and Barbour Counties, West Virginia.  CONE Gathering, which is a gas pipeline joint venture between the two companies, has secured the(…)

District Court Delays Submission of Reasonable Surface Use Issue to WVSCA

Last month District Court Judge Irene Keeley, sitting in the Northern District of West Virginia, sought to have the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (WVSCA) rule upon whether West Virginia law permits a natural gas producer to use a surface owne(…)

Anadarko And Southwestern Energy Negotiating With DCNR To Drill In Loyalsock State Park

NPR reports that two producers and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are negotiating the right to access sub-surface gas deposits in the Loyalsock State Forest.  The Loyalsock State Forest consists of about 100,000 acres and(…)

West Virginia Oil and Gas Environmental Certifications Can Benefit Landowners

Journalist Pam Kasey suggested, in a print article in the West Virginia State Journal dated May 2, 2013, that while it is possible for a surface owner to attempt to insist that a driller become certified under new certification standards set by the Ce(…)

W.Va. Couple Lose Battle to Cancel Oil and Gas Lease in 4th Circuit Appeal

On May 7th the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the arguments of Martha and Charles Wellman and upheld the validity of a “legacy” oil and gas lease.  The lease provided for royalty payments on production and a flat-rate rental payment.  The mi(…)

WV Producer’s Operations Achieve ISO 14001 Certification

As profiled in an article by Pam Kasey in the West Virginia State Journal, Charleston-based Appalachian Basin natural gas operator Triana Energy, LLC has meet the stringent environmental standards required to achieve ISO 14001 certification.  To achie(…)

Consol Energy To Shift Focus To Natural Gas

At its annual shareholder meeting today, Consol Energy announced that it intends to pursue – and focus on – additional drilling in the Appalachian Gas Fields.  Financing for that drilling, the company indicated, may come from selling off and/or restru(…)

Proposed Panel To Review Public Health Impact From Drilling

The Republic reports that Senator Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, recently introduced Senate Bill 555.  The bill would create a health advisory panel to review public health data for areas where shale gas extraction occurs and determine the health impacts(…)

Range Resources Argues That It Was Improperly Denied Permit

Range Resources argued in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania this week that it was improperly denied conditional use permits to place well pads in Robinson Township. Counsel for Range Resources argued that the Township Superv(…)

West Virginia DEP Oil and Gas Workshop on May 16th

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will present an Oil & Gas Workshop at the Charleston Civic Center on May 16th beginning at 8:00 a.m.  Speakers will address a wide variety of topics of interest to operators, contractors, co(…)

New Shale Drilling Initiative Announces Performance Standards

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (“CSSD”), a newly formed independent organization supporting best practices, announced 15 new performance standards for operators in the oil and gas industry. The CSSD will offer an independent, third-party(…)

Marcellus Shale Now Largest Gas Play in the US, IHS Reports

The Marcellus shale play reached a production rate of more than 7 billion cubic feet per day, making it the largest gas-producing play in the United States, IHS reports. This is despite the fact that due to low natural gas prices, the number of active(…)

ECA to Build New Regional Headquarters

According to the Charleston Gazette, Denver-based Energy Corporation of America (ECA) will build a three-story office building Northgate Business Park in Charleston. The building will have more than 5,000 square feet of space and house 100-200 employe(…)

Chesapeake Strikes Oil in West Virginia Marcellus Shale

As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal Online, Chesapeake Energy has hit oil in West Virginia’s Ohio and Marshall Counties.   Chesapeake reports that it drew an average of 290 barrels of oil per day from one Ohio County well in 2012 with another Ohio(…)

Foundation Awards $1 Million Grant for Drilling Health Study

Geisinger Health Systems has announced that it was awarded a $1 million grant by the Degenstein Foundation to study health impacts of Marcellus shale drilling. The grant funds are expected to be primarily used to create data-gathering infrastructure,(…)

Drilling Companies, Environmental Groups Form Institute Focusing on Best Practices

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that certain environmental groups and drilling companies will soon collaborate to establish the Institute of Gas Drilling Excellence, an organization that will measure drilling companies’ performances against the(…)

Marshall County, West Virginia Property Values Rapidly Increasing

The assessed value of property located in Marshall County, West Virginia has increased by almost half in the past two years and has doubled since 2007, reports The State Journal.  Chris Kessler, Marshall County Assessor, indicated that the increase in(…)

PA DEP Announces Study of Naturally Occurring Radioactivity in Gas Drilling By-Products

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday that it will undertake a study concerning naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in oil and gas drilling by-products.  The study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 month(…)

Natural Gas Production and Consumption Increases in West Virginia, Nationwide

Natural gas production and consumption rose nationwide according to new statistics published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Natural Gas Annual and the West Virginia State Journal. Of particular note, natural gas production in West Vir(…)

Lario Oil & Gas Company Announces Intent to Develop Utica Shale in Eastern Ohio

Confident in the future of the Utica Shale play, Kansas based Lario Oil & Gas Company has acquired an interest in 25,000 acres situated in the oil-rich northern portion of the Utica/Point Pleasant Formation in eastern Ohio with an un-named industr(…)

City of Mansfield Passes Environmental Bill of Rights

On November 6, 2012, residents of the city of Mansfield, Ohio voted to approve an environmental bill of rights that will require any company planning to construct an injection well for the disposal of brine from oil and gas production operations to ob(…)

Ohio EPA Data Show Clean Air Near Drill Sites

On November 2, 2012, Ohio EPA reported that the air quality near a drilling site in Muskingum County, Ohio is within federal standards.  Ohio EPA collected four months of data from a monitor that measured concentrations of particulate matter, various(…)

EPA Looks to FIFRA for Authority to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

Acknowledging the agency’s limited authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the principal environmental statutes such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, the United States Environmental Protection A(…)

Gulfport Energy Reports Positive Utica Production Results

Gulfport Energy Corporation reported positive production results for its Shugert 1-1H well in Ohio’s Utica shale.  Located in Belmont County, Ohio, Shugert 1-1H tested at a peak rate of 20.0 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, 144 barrels of co(…)

Federal Court rejects PIOGA’s Contempt Motion – But Cautions Forest Service

In July 2011, PIOGA filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking to hold the United States Forest Service in contempt of court for allegedly failing to adhere to the Court’s December 2009 preliminary injun(…)