West Virginia decisions highlight conflict between oil & gas companies, landowners

In contrast to its recent ruling in Andrews v. Antero (See ShaleOhio, June 14), the West Virginia Supreme Court’s decision in EQT Production Company v. Margot Beth Crowder and David Wentz represents “a rare victory for residents,” according to ProPublica. Landowners and lessors Crowder and Wentz sued EQT when EQT drilled on their land to access natural gas underneath neighboring properties. The high court ruled that lessees may only use surface lands to aid in the development of minerals “underlying the [leased] tract;” developers may not use the surface lands of a lessor to develop an adjacent tract without the express permission of the landowner. The 5-0 ruling sets a legal precedent in defining EQT’s actions as trespassing. Read ProPublica’s comparison here.

West Virginia

WV high court sides with Antero in implied surface easement dispute

Law 360 reports that the West Virginia Supreme Court has issued its ruling in the matter of Robert L. Andrews et al. v. Antero Resources Corp. et al. The court addressed whether the plaintiff landowners were unreasonably and substantially burdened by the defendant gas developers’ activities on and around their land. The majority opinion held that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence of such a burden, particularly on the issue of whether Antero’s activities to develop the mineral estate were reasonably necessary. In addition, the court found that the landowners’ stated “…annoyances, inconveniences, and discomforts” in relation to Antero’s activities on the property “simply do not rise to the level of a substantial burden” as required by West Virginia case law.

The 3-2 decision affirms the lower court’s ruling that the defendants acted in accordance with their implied rights to use the surface estates. Justice Jenkins wrote the majority opinion. In dissent, Justice Workman criticized the majority for failing to provide any guidance on the interplay of the competing rights of a surface landowner and a mineral estate owner. Law 360 notes that this type of conflict between oil & gas E&P companies and landowners is on the rise in West Virginia; it's expected that the number will only continue to grow because of the prevalence of split surface and mineral estates in the Appalachian region.

West Virginia

Nearly half of U.S. natural gas will come from the Ohio Valley by 2040, expanding development potential

Farm and Dairy reports the results of an IHS Markit study which point to an exponential increase in production from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. According to the study, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will supply nearly half of the nation’s natural gas by 2040. The study also quantifies cost advantages of producing natural gas liquids in the Midwest; projected savings are pushing petrochemical plants to look closely at the region for expansion and construction. Read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

TransCanada receives approval to put Mountaineer Xpress into service

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved TransCanada’s Mountaineer Xpress pipeline on March 4, according to Energy Industries Council. The 273.5 km natural gas pipeline is now fully operational in the State of West Virginia. TransCanada’s network of seven compressor stations, known as the “Gulf Xpress project” has also been approved for partial service in Tennessee and Mississippi. For more, read the full story

West Virginia

Harrison County power plant to be a hub of economic growth for the state of West Virginia

Energy Solutions Consortium and Caithness Energy are partnering to open a natural gas-fired power plant in Harrison County, WV, by fall of 2021, according to WVNews. The plant will interconnect with the PJM grid, powering 13 states and generating an expected $880 million for the state of West Virginia. Energy Solutions Consortium is also in the early stages of a second project, which will bring an even larger natural gas power plant to Brooke County. For more, read the full story

West Virginia

Antero to pay $3.15 million fine for pollution violations in West Virginia

On February 11, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a settlement in federal court requiring Antero to pay a $3.15 million fine over damages involving fracking, according to The State. The Colorado-based natural gas producer was found in violation of the Clean Water Act for illegally disposing of dredge in waters at 32 drilling sites across West Virginia. In addition to paying the fine, Antero is responsible for restoring the water supplies affected and the surrounding areas.

West Virginia

Shale Crescent recognizes regional goals

Greg Kozera, the director of marketing for Shale Crescent USA, recently penned an op-ed for The State Journal detailing his team’s progress towards achieving their dreams for the once economically depressed Shale Crescent Region. He chronicled their motivations, increased respect from the 2017 to 2018 World Petrochemical Conferences, and future actions. For more, read the full story.  

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

West Virginia joins international Energy Coalition

West Virginia was unanimously admitted to the Energy Council on Sept. 23, an international coalition focused on energy-related issues within states and international provinces, according to The Weirton Daily Times. The council provides a nonpartisan forum for legislators to dialogue on current energy issues and best practices, and is now comprised of 13 states and two Canadian provinces. For more, read the full story

West Virginia

More development on the horizon for the tri-state area

The Tri-State area (Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) will continue to grow as an oil and gas production hotspot in the coming years, Bryce Custer recently speculated to the Herald-Star, because the area is extremely attractive to investors. For example, the recent JSW Steel of India acquisition in the region may prompt the return of a steelmaking. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Shale Crescent USA proposes rebranding Appalachia as the “Shale Crescent”

At a recent Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce event, Shale Crescent USA Marketing Director Greg Kozera shared his company’s vision of rebranding the region as the “Shale Crescent” to promote economic development, according to the Wheeling News-Register. Along with rebranding itself, Kozera also suggested constructing a petrochemical storage hub and keeping gas and oil industry taxes low. For more, read the full story

West Virginia
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