West Virginia lawmakers have killed a bill that would have forced pooling in the state.
Related: West Virginia Oil and Gas Lease Basics
Senate Bill 576, had been the top priority this session for the state’s natural gas industry. The bill would allow drilling over the objections of a co-owner of mineral rights. Through “co-tenancy”, companies could force adjacent gas reserves into pools for modern horizontal drilling through older leases.
The bill passed the Senate last week, but House leaders felt that there was too little time to build a consensus of support for the legislation. The so they didn’t introduce it into the agenda, effectively killing it for the remainder of the session.
Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, voted against the bill and offered several amendments, which were all rejected.
“We’re making it easier for corporations to take people’s property than it is for the government.” Romano said after passage by the Senate. “We’ve made billions of dollars for oil and gas companies today — nothing for our citizens, nothing for our state.”
Supporters believe pooling legislation is needed to encourage more oil and gas development in the state.
In January the West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition met to strategize how it would mobilize forces to protect landowner rights. The coalition has been actively lobbying legislators in this session to maintain and continue those protections they won in 2016.
Proposed legislation in Idaho would represent a total overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations.
Own mineral rights in Idaho? Join the conversation here.
Rep. Judy Boyle introduced HB 232 last week, a 45-page bill would require oil and gas producers to submit monthly reports for every operating well. This information would then be made available to the public.
“This bill would introduce more uncertainty and risk for those deciding where to deploy their limited capital, including the companies who have partnered to make discoveries in the Willow Hamilton Field who have current plans to invest millions in Idaho this year.” Alta Mesa spokesman John Foster.
HB 232 Highlights
- - Establishes default sizes for well spacing units: 40 acres for oil wells and 160 acres for gas wells
- - Reconfigures the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to include the Idaho governor, director of the Department of Lands, two people appointed by the governor and a county commissioner from a county where oil or gas has been produced within the past 10 years
- - – Invests the board with discretionary authority to review and set the final sales price for oil and gas if it determines that tax and royalty payments do not reflect daily market prices
- Requires the Idaho Department of Lands to post the records on its website
In 2016, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed Senate Bill 1339, making it easier to force mineral-right holders into a pool with other owners. Pooling is the controversial process where operators deal with a collection of mineral owners of a specific deposit of resources instead of one-by-one. With pooling in place, the operator only needs an agreement of 55% of the owners for them to force all to comply.
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, and Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland, along with District 8 Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly, District 32 Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, and District 31 Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot.
Read more at legislature.idaho.gov