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Category Archives: Energy

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Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Invites Comments on Revised Well Spacing Rules

Posted in Energy
Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management invited comments on a draft rule package that would amend the Division’s existing well spacing rules for conventional and horizontal wells.  As the Division explains in its Statement of Intent: The DOGRM intends to amend the existing well spacing rule by revising… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Addresses Notice Requirement Under 2006 DMA

Posted in Energy
Recently, in Shilts v. Beardmore (2018-Ohio-863), the Seventh District Court of Appeals analyzed whether a surface owner complied with the notice requirement of the 2006 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (Revised Code 5305.56) (the “2006 DMA”). Under the 2006 DMA, in order to abandon a dormant mineral interest, a surface owner must first serve a notice of… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio Takes Up Marketable Title Act

Posted in Energy
On February 28, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio announced that it has accepted an appeal of Blackstone v. Moore (2017-Ohio-1639).  Blackstone is a Seventh District Court of Appeals decision that analyzed the Ohio Marketable Title Act (R.C. 5301.47 et seq.) (the “OMTA”) and adopted a four factor test to determine whether a reference to an… Continue Reading

West Virginia Co-Tenancy Bill Signed into Law

Posted in Energy
On Friday, March 9, 2018, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed into law a state statute permitting the leasing of oil and gas interests owned by seven or more “royalty owners,” if at least 75% of the owners agree to the lease.  The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2018, eliminates the need to… Continue Reading

Oil and Gas Title Washing Survives Another Judicial Challenge

Posted in Energy
In its February 2018 unpublished decision of Woodhouse Hunting Club, Inc. v. Hoyt, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld yet another challenge to the Commonwealth’s unique, historical concept of “title washing.”  Many oil and gas title attorneys are familiar with the concept, whereby reservations of oil and gas underlying “unseated” lands are erased following tax sales.  The… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Unitization Order

Posted in Energy
On January 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected a constitutional challenge to a statutory unitization order issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. In State ex rel. Kerns v. Simmers, the Division issued an order under Ohio’s unitization statute, R.C. 1509.28, that consolidated the relators-landowners’… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Determines Jurisdiction for WOTUS Challenges

Posted in Energy, Environment
On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held that lawsuits challenging the joint EPA-Army Corps rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) must be filed in federal District Courts. The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the Sixth Circuit’s February 2016 decision that the federal Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 1369(b)(1) of… Continue Reading

PA DEP Halts Mariner East II Pipeline

Posted in Energy
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection halted construction of Sunoco Logistic LP’s Mariner East II pipeline, citing violations of environmental laws, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Sunoco violated its permits, using unauthorized drilling methods that leaked nontoxic drilling fluid into trout streams and water wells across the state, according to the DEP. The state discovered… Continue Reading

Ohio Appellate Court Finds The Duhig Rule Persuasive

Posted in Energy
In Talbot v. Ward (2017-Ohio-9213), Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals found the Duhig rule “persuasive” in interpreting a deed containing an exception for royalties, bonuses, and rentals. The Duhig rule, first enacted in Texas in 1940, bars a grantor and his successors and assigns from claiming title in a reserved fractional mineral interest when doing so would, in effect,… Continue Reading

Recent Ohio Oil and Gas Decisions

Posted in Energy
Over the last several weeks, Ohio courts issued a few decisions involving oil and gas issues that we wanted to briefly mention: Schillo v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC (Harrison Cty. C.P., Oct. 16, 2017) – Here, the dispute was whether the lessee properly extended an oil and gas lease through the tender of delay rental payments. … Continue Reading

Eclipse Res.—Ohio, LLC v. Madzia

Posted in Energy
Last week, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Eclipse Res.—Ohio, LLC v. Madzia, concerning a dispute between a landowner and a lessee regarding the latter’s drilling rights.  Among other things, the court found: The lease, which conveyed to the lessee a broad grant of rights to use the landowner’s… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio to Hear Landman Licensing Case

Posted in Energy
In March, we posted about Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp., a decision by Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals ruling that landmen were required to obtain real estate broker’s licenses in order to sue for compensation for brokering deals between landowners and oil and gas companies.  Today, the Supreme Court of Ohio agreed to review… Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Finds Ohio Would Follow the “At the Well” Rule for Post-Production Costs

Posted in Energy
In a decision released yesterday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio concluded that Ohio would adopt the “at the well” rule regarding the deduction of post-production costs, the first time the issue has been squarely addressed under Ohio law. Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., N.D.Ohio No. 4:09-cv-2256 (Oct. 25, 2017).… Continue Reading

Ohio Court Holds Deed Reserving “All of the Minerals and Coal” Did Not Reserve Oil and Gas

Posted in Energy
In Sheba v. Kautz, 2017-Ohio-7699, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals held that a deed executed in 1848 reserving “all of the minerals and coal” did not reserve oil and gas. In reaching its decision, the Court applied ordinary principles of contract interpretation, and heavily relied upon the Supreme Court of Ohio’s decision in Detlor… Continue Reading

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Litigation

Posted in Energy
Last year, we posted about litigation concerning the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial rule purporting to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands.  After a federal court found that the rule exceeded the scope of the BLM’s regulatory authority, appeals were filed with 10th District Court of Appeals.  Earlier this year, the BLM announced… Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Decision Striking Down Fayette County, WV Wastewater Injection Ban

Posted in Energy
On August 30, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision striking down a Fayette County, WV ordinance prohibiting wastewater injection.  EQT Production Company challenged the ordinance—which restricted “storage, treatment, injection, process or permanent disposal” of wastewater within the county, including specifically, the use of injection wells… Continue Reading

Federal Court Rejects Class Action Alleging Improper Deduction of Post-Production Costs

Posted in Energy
On August 24, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia granted summary judgment to producers in a class action lawsuit concerning the deduction of flat-rate post-production costs. In Kinney v. CNX Gas Company, LLC, et al., the parties’ leases provided that the lessors would receive a percentage of the… Continue Reading

Ohio Court Elaborates on Paying Quantities Test

Posted in Energy
On June 16, 2017, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals issued its decision in Paulus v. Beck Energy Corp. 2017-Ohio-5716, which addresses a number of issues concerning Ohio’s standard for determining whether an oil and gas lease is producing in “paying quantities,” a test that must ordinarily be met in order to continue a lease during its… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Vacates Stay of Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Rule

Posted in Energy, Environment
This post provides an important update to our April 20, 2017 post regarding U.S. EPA’s reconsideration of its rule regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry (“NSPS OOOOa”). On June 5, 2017, EPA published a notice of reconsideration and partial stay of NSPS OOOOa. Specifically, EPA stayed the effectiveness of the fugitive emissions… Continue Reading

Court Clarifies which References are “Specific” for Purposes of Applying the Ohio Marketable Title Act

Posted in Energy
Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals recently interpreted a statutory exception to “marketable record title” under Ohio’s Marketable Title Act (R.C. 5301.47 et seq.) (OMTA). In Blackstone v. Moore, 2017-Ohio-5704, the court held that whether a reference to an interest inherent in the muniments of the chain of record title is “specific” – and thus… Continue Reading

Appellate Court Holds a Recorded Release of an Oil and Gas Lease is a “Savings Event” under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act

Posted in Energy
In Davis v. Consolidation Coal Company, 2017-Ohio-5703, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals held that a recorded release of an oil and gas lease qualifies as a “savings event” under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (R.C. 5301.56) (ODMA). One of the six savings events under the ODMA occurs whenever the mineral interest has been the subject… Continue Reading

BLM Postpones Waste Prevention Rule Compliance Date

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 15, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued notice that it was postponing compliance date for certain sections of its Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 83008 (“Waste Prevention Rule”). The Waste Prevention Rule regulates the loss of natural gas through venting, flaring, and leaks… Continue Reading