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Category Archives: Energy

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Sixth Circuit Rules for Producer in Royalty Dispute

Posted in Energy
On May 21, 2020, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for a lessee in an oil and gas lease dispute, finding that the lessee properly considered post-production costs when calculating the landowners’ royalties.  See Henceroth v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC, 6th Cir. No. 19-3942. The lessee, Chesapeake Exploration (Chesapeake), produced oil and gas from the… Continue Reading

Ohio Appellate Court Holds that Words of Inheritance are Required to Reserve Oil and Gas Interests

Posted in Energy
Recently, in Peppertree Farms v. Thonen, 2020-Ohio-3043, Ohio’s Fifth Appellate District considered whether certain ancient royalty and fee oil and gas reservations terminated upon the grantor’s death. The Court held that they did because the grantors failed to include words of inheritance in their reservation clauses. As a result, each grantor’s reserved oil and gas… Continue Reading

Update Regarding Ohio Land Professional Registrations

Posted in Energy
The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, recently reached out to Ohio’s “land professionals” (i.e., oil and gas landman registered with the Division) concerning renewing their registerations. Ohio law requires land professionals to renew their registrations annually on or before April 30. However, in light of House Bill 197, land… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA and Army Corps Publish Final Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Posted in Energy, Environment
On April 21, 2020, U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers published the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule amending the definition of “Waters of the United States” (the “2020 WOTUS Rule”). Under the 2020 WOTUS Rule, four categories of jurisdictional WOTUS are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA): 1. The territorial… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Refuses to Toll Statute of Limitation in Oil and Gas Royalty Case

Posted in Energy
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that a certain group of landowners were not entitled to have Ohio’s 4-year oil and gas royalty statute of limitation tolled against Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, finding that Chesapeake did not engage in fraudulent concealment. In Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., No. 19-3315, certain… Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to NEPA Regulations

Posted in Energy, Environment
As discussed in an earlier post, found here, the Council of Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) recently published proposed amendments to update the procedural regulations used to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The proposed amendments were published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020 and can be found here. Public comments on the proposed… Continue Reading

PA Supreme Court Holds the Rule of Capture Applies to Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Posted in Energy
On January 22, 2020, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Prod. Co.  The issue before the Court was whether the rule of capture applies when a developer drains oil and gas from an adjacent property by drilling a well “using hydraulic fracturing solely within the developer’s property.” (emphasis in original). The… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio to Determine Whether the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act Supersedes the Ohio Marketable Title Act as to Severed Oil and Gas Interests

Posted in Energy
On January 21, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio accepted an appeal from the Seventh District Court of Appeals’ decision in West v. Bode, Case No. 18-MO-0017. The issue accepted for review by the Court is whether, due to a perceived conflict between the statutes, the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (R.C. 5301.56), being the specific… Continue Reading

Proposed regulatory amendments published for the National Environmental Policy Act

Posted in Energy, Environment
The Council for Environmental Quality recently published proposed amendments to update the procedural regulations used to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The proposed amendments were published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020 and can be found here. The main goal of NEPA is to assure that federal agencies adequately consider the… Continue Reading

Lessor Notice is Required in Certain Circumstances to Forfeit a Lease for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Reasonable Development

Posted in Energy
In Pavsek v. Wade, 18 MO 0024, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals considered whether a lessor must serve notice upon its lessee demanding that the lessee drill additional wells on the leasehold prior to seeking a partial forfeiture of the lease due to the lessee’s breach of the implied covenant of reasonable development. The… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court of Ohio To Address Due Diligence Under ODMA

Posted in Energy
In July, we wrote about Gerrity v. Chervenak (5th Dist., Guernsey County), involving the level of due diligence that the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act requires surface owners to use when notifying mineral holders of abandonment proceedings. On October 15, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio agreed to hear Gerrity.  The Court will consider the following… Continue Reading

Court Reaffirms Ohio’s Marketable Title Act and Dormant Mineral Act are not in Conflict

Posted in Energy
The Seventh District Court of Appeals reaffirmed that claimants can use both Ohio’s Marketable Title Act (“MTA”) and Dormant Mineral Act (“DMA”) to extinguish and abandon, respectively, mineral interests. In West v. Bode, 2019-Ohio-4092, the appellant-surface owners attempted to extinguish a severed oil and gas royalty interest under the MTA. The holders of the royalty interest… Continue Reading

USGS: Big Increase in Undiscovered Marcellus and Utica Gas

Posted in Energy
The Marcellus and Utica Shales contain around 214 tcf of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment.  “This is a significant increase from the previous USGS assessments of both formations. In 2011, the USGS estimated a mean of 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus… Continue Reading

Update for Ohio’s Oil and Gas Land Professionals

Posted in Energy
The Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing issued new guidance for Ohio’s Oil and Gas Land Professionals (“Land Professionals”).  First, the Division updated its Land Professional Disclosure Form. Ohio law requires Land Professionals to provide this disclosure form to landowners prior to or at its first meeting with landowners.  Second, the Division is requesting… Continue Reading

Ohio’s 5th Appellate District Addresses the Due Diligence Standard Under the Dormant Mineral Act

Posted in Energy
The Fifth Appellate District recently addressed whether an internet search to identify / locate the holders of severed mineral interests is always required under Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act (“ODMA”). See, Gerrity v. Chervenak, 2019-Ohio-2687. In 1965, Jane Richards obtained title to certain severed mineral interests located in Guernsey County, Ohio (“Gerrity Minerals”). In 1997, Ms.… Continue Reading

Ohio EPA Issues Draft Vapor Intrusion Guidance

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 24, 2019, Ohio EPA issued a draft Vapor Intrusion Sampling and Evaluation Guidance (Guidance). The draft Guidance, which is intended to update the 2010 version of Ohio EPA’s Vapor Intrusion Guidance, is applicable to sites subject to CERCLA, RCRA, and Ohio Voluntary Action (VAP) oversight. Comments on the draft Guidance must be submitted… Continue Reading

Ohio Court of Appeals Addresses Interplay of Oil and Gas Lease and Statutory Unitization Order

Posted in Energy
On June 19, 2019, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals decided a case involving the interplay of a private oil and gas lease and Ohio’s statutory unitization law.  See Paczewski v. Antero Resources Corp., 18 MO 0016.  When signing an oil and gas lease, the original contracting parties struck a voluntary unitization clause.  Unable to… Continue Reading

President Trump Issues Energy-Related Executive Orders

Posted in Energy
On April 10, 2019, President Trump issued two Executive Orders (EOs) to facilitate the construction of primarily energy-related infrastructure, including pipelines. EO 13867, Issuance of Permits with respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at International Borders, was issued to expedite permitting of facilities crossing the international border, such as oil and gas pipelines to… Continue Reading

Appellate Court Again Holds Ohio’s Marketable Title Act Applies to Fee Oil and Gas Interests

Posted in Energy
Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals recently held once again that fee oil and gas interests are subject to possible extinguishment under Ohio’s Marketable Title Act (MTA). See Stalder v. Bucher, 2019-Ohio-936. In Stalder, the mineral owners advanced two arguments against extinguishment. First, they claimed that the MTA no longer applies to mineral interests. In… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Finalizes New Owner Clean Air Act Audit Program for Oil and Natural Gas Sector

Posted in Energy, Environment
On March 29, 2019, U.S. EPA finalized a New Owner Clean Air Act (CAA) Audit Program for new owners of upstream oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities – i.e. well sites, tank batteries, and vapor control systems (the “Program”). The Program encourages new owners voluntarily to conduct a self-audit of newly acquired facilities,… Continue Reading