Posts Authored by Christopher T. Furey

Energy Transfer Partners closes sale of stake in Rover Pipeline

Business Wire reports that Energy Transfer Partners has announced that its subsidiaries, Energy Transfer Interstate Holdings and ET Rover Pipeline (“HoldCo”), have closed the previously announced sale of a 49.9% interest in HoldCo to Blackstone Energy Partners. As a result of the closing, HoldCo is now owned 50.1% by Energy Transfer and 49.9% by Blackstone. Upon completion, the 713-mile Rover Pipeline will be able to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to markets across the United States and in Canada. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Chesapeake says Justice Department has dropped probes of royalty, land practices

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended a three-year investigation of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s oil and natural gas royalty payment and land purchase practices without taking action, according to Reuters. The news service reports that Chesapeake said in a recent securities filing that the Justice Department advised it on September 19, 2017 that it had concluded the probes. The department had subpoenaed documents from the company in 2014 after dozens of landowners and others accused it of short-changing them on royalties for natural gas and other fuels. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

West Virginia lifts suspension of Mountain Valley Pipeline permit

West Virginia environmental regulators have lifted their suspension of a permit for building the Mountain Valley Pipeline that would carry natural gas down the center of West Virginia to Virginia, reports the Associated Press. The news service says West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had issued the water quality certification permit in March 2017, but vacated its approval in September to re-evaluate the application and determine whether it complied with the federal Clean Water Act. DEP Secretary Austin Caperton said as a result of that action, stronger safeguards for West Virginia waterways are now in place. For more, read the full story.

West Virginia

Billions in pipeline projects moving forward in Utica, Marcellus shale plays

Work on pipelines that will move natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays continues in nearly every corner of the Upper Ohio Valley, with billions of dollars of projects in some stage of development, reports the Times Leader in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The newspaper says the projects, ranging from ones in the permitting process to those under construction, include the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Sunrise, Leach XPress, Nexus, Rover, Mountain Valley and Mountaineer Xpress pipelines. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Business groups oppose Pennsylvania’s proposed severance tax

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a broad coalition of Pennsylvania business groups oppose a revenue plan passed by the state Senate that they say “disproportionately relies on taxing energy consumers and producers" to narrow the state’s $2.2 billion budget shortfall. The newspaper says business, energy and manufacturing trade groups believe a proposed severance tax on natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations and new or higher taxes for electricity and natural gas users would jeopardize Pennsylvania’s chances for attracting or retaining industry because of its low energy costs. The Senate proposal still needs to be approved by a majority of House members. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania

Ohio Supreme Court accepts oil and gas appeal involving implied covenants

The Ohio Supreme Court has accepted a landowner’s appeal in Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Co., which seeks to expand Ohio’s implied covenants for reasonable development to include deeper and unexplored formations. The case itself involves approximately 74 acres in Washington County, Ohio that were leased in 1980 and have been held by production by one conventional well. The landowner did not dispute the production from that well, but rather argued that the oil and gas company was not capable of developing any formations deeper than the Gordon Sands Formation. As a result, the landowner requested that all geologic formations below the Gordon Sands be released based on the implied covenant for reasonable development. The 4th District Court of Appeals (Washington County) rejected the landowner’s arguments. Click here for the District Court of Appeals decision.

Ohio, Oil & Gas Litigation

U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari for Walker DMA case

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari for Walker v. Shondrick-Nau (2016-Ohio-5793). The Ohio Supreme Court had previously held on September 15, 2016, that the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (DMA) was not self-executing. Using its decision in Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration L.L.C. (2016-Ohio-5796), the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the mineral owners in eleven other decisions pending before it, including Walker. In response the Walker decision, John Walker, Jr., petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the case as a violation of the due process clause and the contracts clause of the United States Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, however, to deny certiorari ultimately means that the Corban decision is, therefore, the precedent moving forward. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Oil & Gas Litigation