“Methane (even from CBM) is a distinct mineral estate that is separate from coal” was the decision passed down from the West Virginia Supreme Court in 2004. The ruling was in favor of mineral owners as oil & gas companies had previously signed agreements to produce coalbed methane (CBM) with the companies operating existing coal leases.
Today, EQT and CNX are preparing to defend against class action lawsuits from mineral owners suing for back royalties. The overall burden will reach into the millions and possibly the hundreds of millions depending on the outcome of the lawsuit. A portion of the funds are already in escrow with the state and the lawsuit will likely determine whether or not additional royalty dollars will be paid.
The ruling is part of a potential class action involving thousands of landowners in six Virginia coalfields counties who attorneys claim were cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments.
The five separate legal actions in U.S. District Court in Abingdon are aimed at EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co., Pittsburgh-area energy companies that have thousands of natural gas wells in Appalachia.
Read the full news release at StamfordAdvocate.com