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West Virginia Kills Pooling Bill

by Elizabeth Alford on April 9, 2017

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.


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Idaho: Landowner Bill of Rights Considered

by Elizabeth Alford on March 9, 2017

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.


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Texas Royalties & Taxes Drop Dramatically

February 21, 2017

Oil and natural gas revenues in Texas has declined steadily since the bust two years ago, with The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) reporting a 40% decline since 2014. Related: Texas Schools Fight to Survive The Texas budget relies on sales taxes, which account for 58% of all statewide tax collections. As the shale boom […]

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Devon Faces Thousands of Unhappy Mineral Owners

February 16, 2017

Devon Energy lost another round in its fight against a lawsuit brought by thousands in North Texas who claim they were cheated out of royalties. Related: Landowners Lose Negligence Battle in Texas A Dallas federal judge sided with Denton County property owners last month, when he allowed a class-action lawsuit against Devon to move forward. U.S. […]

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Mineral Estate Conservation Easements Provide Flexibility

February 1, 2017

A Stanford professor is touting a new way for private landowners to limit fracking on their land without government regulation. Related: EPA Releases Fracking Assessment Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, leads a team of legal scholars who have assessed how a conservation easement could enable individual landowners to restrict fracking on […]

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New Minimum Royalty Rates

January 18, 2017

Just days before President Obama is set to leave office, he released new shale regulations establishing minimum royalty rates and giving the Secretary of the Interior discretion for increases. Related: BLM: New Rules Will Ensure Accurate Royalties The ruling is designed to protect the environment and ensure that taxpayers are fairly compensated, should shale on federal […]

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West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition

January 11, 2017

The West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition is mobilizing forces to protect landowner rights. Related: Clarity Needed for West Virginia Royalties The 2017 legislative session in West Virginia is under way and being closely watched by mineral rights owners in the state. At the beginning of the month, the West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition gathered its members […]

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2016 Year in Review for Oil & Gas

January 2, 2017

Looking back over 2016, it seems that some relief may be in sight for the oil and gas industry after over two years of riding out low oil prices. Some highlights of the last year include: – Oil prices hit a 13-year low of $26 a barrel in February 2016 and ended the year over $50 a […]

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Clarity Needed for Royalty Deductions in West Virginia

December 26, 2016

The fight over whether post-production fees can be deducted from royalty statements continues to play out in West Virginia Courts. Related: West Virginia Bill Seeks Transparency for Mineral Owners Royalty statements can be confusing, with owners not always knowing why they are being charged. Gas companies might deduct money for transportation, loss of gas and even marketing the […]

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North Dakota Tackles Confusing Royalty Statements

December 19, 2016

North Dakota mineral owners who are confused by complicated royalty statements may soon get some relief. Related: Who Owns Mineral Rights Under North Dakota Lake? The North Dakota Industrial Commission is moving to strengthen state requirements for royalty statements after a plea from recently retired legislator, Bob Skarphol. Skarphol want to require oil and gas companies to do […]

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