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West Virginia Gives up on Forced Pooling

by Elizabeth Alford on November 2, 2017

The West Virginia Senate has decided to side with property owners and will not pursue further efforts to allow forced pooling.

Related: Colorado Addressing Mineral Owners’ Issues

State Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, spoke to the press last week saying the legislature has decided that forced pooling has no place in the state. While the lawmaker acknowledged that the state needs to modernize its oil and gas statutes, he said forced pooling damages property owners’ rights.

“Forced pooling has no chance. (…) What we really need to do is modernize our oil and gas statutes and make this the best place to drill for these resources.”  - Senate President Mitch Carmichael

Forced pooling requires property owners to allow drilling underneath their property if adjoining property owners have signed agreements with oil or gas companies. Recent attempts to pass this legislation has failed.

The WV legislature is weighing other bills that address access to mineral rights including:

  • Allowing access beneath properties with multiple owners or heirs
  • Allowing drilling under property if a majority of surface right owners agree
  • Allowing for the integration of multiple leases if the leases are all held by the same company

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Mineral Rights Dispute Slows Development in Bakken

by Elizabeth Alford on October 27, 2017

Bakken development around Lake Sakakawea is being delayed over a mineral rights dispute.

Related: North Dakota’s Complex Mineral Rights Issues

Continental resources filed a lawsuit last week over questions surrounding who owns the mineral rights under Lake Sakakawea. Attorneys for Continental assert that the state and the federal governments both claim ownership to the mineral rights for 93 of the company’s wells. In the lawsuit, the company is asking the court to allow them to shift the royalty payments for 4,265.791 acres of land to a court-designated depository until the dispute is resolved.

“By reason of these conflicting claims, Continental is in great doubt as to which defendant is entitled to be paid royalties in the disputed lands. Continental doesn’t assert title in the disputed lands, and brings this suit merely to avoid duplicate liability for royalties for the mineral production attributed to the disputed area.” -Continental Complaint

In April, North Dakota legislators approved SB 2134, which affirms that the state does not own minerals under Lake Sakakawea. This put a process in motion to return an estimated $187 million in bonus, rent and royalty payments to private citizens.

The Land Board has gone on record to deny that SB 2134 obligates the agency to rescind its claim to ownership of the mineral estates associated with Disputed Lands. The agency states it is owed $3.786 million in royalties in the disputed areas through June 2017, while the U.S. government claims it is owed $2.818 million in royalties from the same area.


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Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act Passes

October 15, 2017

U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson has been leading the fight to protect oil and gas production in the Allegheny National Forest. His efforts paid off last week when the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed HR 2316; The Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act of 2017. “Federal courts have ruled that the U.S. Forest Service does not […]

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Mineral Owners Sought in New Mexico

October 3, 2017

Carlsbad City, New Mexico has voted to move forward with plans to drill on its massive oil reserves in and around the city. Related: Mineral Rights Dispute Slows Development in Bakken In August, Santo Petroleum LLC was awarded mineral interests on 800 acres of land owned by the city. Now, the operator has the daunting task of identifying […]

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Colorado Addressing Mineral Owners’ Issues

September 24, 2017

Colorado legislators met last week at the state capital for an Energy Summit to discuss key issues facing mineral rights owners. Colorado Attempts to Limit Forced Pooling Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Lori Saine hosted one of three informal meetings designed to get stakeholders to the sit down and discuss best practices and possible rule changes […]

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Pennsylvania Bill Affects Mineral Owners Right to Negotiate

September 14, 2017

Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill that threatens longstanding principles of property law that could hinder mineral rights owners. North Dakota’s Complex Mineral Rights Issues Last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 453, a budget bill with a provision in a Pennsylvania that might make it harder for landowners with depleted oil and […]

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North Dakota’s Complex Mineral Rights Issues

August 28, 2017

A controversial oil and gas drilling project in North Dakota highlights the complex mix of private, state and federal mineral rights on tribal lands. Related: North Dakota Fighting for Millions in Royalties Within one week’s time, the federal government halted and then allowed drilling on a series of wells near Lake Sakakawea in Mountrail County, North […]

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Pennsylvania Tries Again to Clarify Royalty Deductions

August 11, 2017

Pennsylvania legislator introduces legislation aimed at increasing fairness and transparency for landowners who receive natural gas royalties. Pennsylvania Considers Minimum Royalties Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) introduced House Bill 1708 today that defines post-production costs and acceptable deductions allowed by oil and gas producers. The bill is the latest attempt by lawmakers to amend the Oil and Gas Lease […]

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Louisiana Fights to Keep Royalties

July 31, 2017

Louisiana pushes back against a Trump initiative to take away more of the state’s oil and gas royalties. Royalty Payments: Who’s Getting Rich? In his 2018 federal budget, President Trump is proposing to eliminate the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which provides critical funding for Louisiana’s coastal restoration. These funds come from the state’s […]

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Royalty Payments: Who’s Getting Rich?

July 24, 2017

Lots of people are getting rich from oil and gas royalties and Washington is getting its share. Related: North Dakota Fighting for Millions in Royalties Receiving royalties from oil and gas activity can be lucrative. An estimated $22 billion was paid out in royalties to private mineral rights owners in 2013. A new study by the Government […]

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