Energy

Steptoe & Johnson's energy team is made up of attorneys and paraprofessionals who provide comprehensive services to the energy industry across the firm's major practices. Team attorneys have been top listed in a number of energy-related practice areas by the authors of The Best Lawyers in America® and Chambers USA.

Team Members provide solutions tailored to the specific needs of energy developers throughout Colorado, Kentucky, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia, making our team the go to choice for both Appalachian and mid-continent developers working in the shales.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Dedication to shaping energy law for the future
  • Dedicated team of Coal, Oil & Gas lawyers
  • Scalable, time-sensitive solutions to meet client needs
  • Transferrable shale gas experience
  • Robust abstracting resources throughout the region
  • 100 years of experience in energy law
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® and Chambers USA in Oil & Gas and Energy law
  • Strategic locations throughout various shale plays including the Marcellus and Utica

201 Team Members

We're all in this together
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Know How

Press Release: G. Kurt Dettinger Named to National Top 20 Under 40 in A&D By Oil & Gas Investor Magazine
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Member G. Kurt Dettinger has been named to Oil and Gas Investor’s 20 Under 40 for principals and advisors in asset acquisitions and divestitures (A&D).
Alert: Ohio Appellate Court Adopts Fixed “Look Back” Period For 1989 Dormant Mineral Act
In the recent 7th District Court of Appeals case of Eisenbarth v. Reusser, 7th Dist. Monroe No. 13 MO 10, 2014-Ohio-3792, the court determined that the “look back” period for the 1989 Dormant Mineral Act (“DMA”) was fixed and not rolling.
Alert: Overtime Pay for Per Diem Employees
Overtime Pay for Per Diem Employees Per diem pay or “day rate” is a common practice in many industries, including the energy industry, and has been characterized as an area of “continued focus” for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Given the DOL’s focus on per diem pay practices and the costly consequences of noncompliance, now is the time to ensure that employees being paid on a per diem basis are being paid correctly. Employers who compensate employees on a day rate or per diem basis should remember:
Alert: TX Supreme Court Clarifies Royalty Calculations For Enhanced Oil Recovery
In French v. Occidental Permian, Ltd., the Texas Supreme Court clarified royalty calculations for enhanced oil recovery.
Alert: Foreign Investors in U.S. Projects Have Right to Due Process in CFIUS Proceedings
Although United States Courts are generally reluctant to interfere in Executive Branch decisions related to national security, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13389, recognized an important exception. The Circuit Court reversed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia which had dismissed Ralls’ claims for relief. On July 15, 2014 the Court determined that proceedings of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) are properly subject to judicial review under the due process clause of the Constitution.
Alert: Defending Harassment Claims
Defending Harassment ClaimsIn 2013, the EEOC reported receiving 21,371 charges alleging harassment. The number of harassment charges filed indicates that no employer is immune from such accusations. A well-written, consistently administered harassment policy can greatly improve an employer’s defensibility against harassment claims.An effective harassment policy should contain five essential components:
Alert: Mineral Lessees Have Surface Rights Across Non-Producing Pooled Tracts
On June 20, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that a mineral lessee has the right to use a road to cross the surface of non-producing pooled tracts.  This decision is critical for oil and gas producers, as it clarifies the ability to access oil and gas operations within pooled units.  Mineral lessees do not have a burden to show that there is actual production under a landowner’s property in order to use a road across part of a pooled unit.  
Webinar: June 2014 - Energy Webcast - "Spacing, Pooling and Unitization in Colorado"
Please click HERE to view the recorded webcast. A crucial step in the oil and gas development process is forming the proper unit in which to drill a well. Most often, mineral interests are held in tracts that are too small to drill a well without the pooling of interests to form a properly sized unit under oil and gas commission rules.In this Colorado focused webcast, John Chadd discusses:The difference between spacing and poolingWays that a drilling and spacing unit may be createdVoluntary pooling and forced poolingRecent developments in unitization
Alert: Pennsylvania Title Washes Upheld
On May 9, 2014, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County and upheld the controversial “title wash” tax sale principle.
Alert: Court Vacates FERC "Demand Response" Final Rule
On May 23rd, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a final rule of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) which sought to incentivize electricity customers to reduce electricity consumption when economically efficient.  The rule was challenged by several energy associations, including the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Supply Association, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.In a 2-1 decision, the Court invalidated FERC Order No. 745 requiring grid operators to pay electricity users who cut consumption when prices and demand rise the same amount as generators that produce electricity.  This practice is referred to as “demand response.”  
Alert: Beware of Policies Requiring Employees to be 100% Fit for Duty
Beware of Policies Requiring Employees to be 100% Fit for Duty Employees with disabilities pose unique issues for employers, and no two cases are the same. In a recent case, an employee utilized a short-term leave of absence and long-term disability leave for his herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. As he prepared to return to work, the employee claimed that the employer’s no restriction policy demanded that he be 100% fit for duty before his return. The employee claimed that this requirement violated the Americans with Disabilities Act’s reasonable accommodations provision and filed suit against the energy company.
Alert: ODNR Revises Unitization Guidance – Adds Significant Delay to Process
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued a revised Unitization Application Procedural Guideline, effective May 8, 2014, which makes several significant changes to the unitization process in Ohio.
Webinar: May 2014 - Energy Webcast - "Post-Production Costs"
Please click HERE to view the recorded webcast. Shale gas development in the U.S. has us moving through some rocky legal terrain to find a "safe" royalty clause or a "new" market at the well in regards to post-production costs. Challenges remain in post-production costs and approaches vary from majority to minority across the states.  In this webcast Karen Donnelly discusses: Allocation of post-production expenses in calculating royalties Case law update Can the market return to the wellhead? Title, measurement, and affiliate issues  
Alert: Ohio Court Favors Surface Owner in Dormant Mineral Act Ruling
Walker v. Noon was recently decided by the Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals. Walker is noteworthy because it is the first appellate level decision addressing the automatic reversion provision under the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA).
Alert: Defending Discrimination Claims
Defending Discrimination ClaimsThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that it received over 27,000 charges of sex discrimination in 2013.  The number of discrimination charges filed is a clear indicator that all employers need to be prepared for handling such allegations.  An employer’s first line of defense is, of course, proper documentation.In a recent case, a saleswoman terminated by an energy service company brought a sex discrimination suit against her former employer alleging she was terminated for discriminatory reasons. Her supervisor claimed that he terminated the saleswoman for performance issues.The outcome of this suit will almost certainly be affected by whether the company can produce documents that support its explanation of the termination.
Whitepaper: Maryland Requires Landmen To Register With State Agency, Else Face Fines
In Maryland, new regulations went into effect in February to implement legislation passed in 2013 that, in essence, requires landmen to register with a state agency before engaging in the business of negotiating with land owners to acquire oil and gas leases. Those who do not register face could face a series of escalating fines.
Webinar: March 2014 - Energy Webcast - "Ohio Oil & Gas Case Law Update"
Click HERE to view a recording of the presentation. The explosion of the shale gas development in the U.S. has lead to ongoing developments in case law. This webcast will look at Ohio oil and gas case law developments over the past year.  Relevant cases that were decided in 2013 will be discussed and analyzed. This webcast will have significant focus on dormant mineral act cases as well as cases regarding interpretation of lease provisions.In this webcast, Tim McKeen and Jason Lucas discuss: Recent case law regarding Ohio's Dormant Mineral Act Recent case law regarding interpretation of certain lease provisions Brief look into the future of case law and pending cases
Press Release: Steptoe & Johnson to Take Part in DUG Bakken and Niobrara
Steptoe & Johnson will take part in the Hart Energy DUG Bakken and Niobrara: Maximizing Recoveries in the Rockies in Denver, Colorado on April 2-4
Alert: Save the Date - 2014 Energy Leadership Summit. Denver, CO.
Mark Your Calendar and Plan to Join Us for the Steptoe & Johnson 2014 Energy Leadership SummitWhen:Thursday, May 15, 20148:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.Where:The Oxford Hotel1600 17th StreetDenver, CO 80202Why Should You Attend?This one-day Summit will provide energy executives and decision makers with a comprehensive overview of recent shale oil and gas developments as well as legal and transactional issues in major U.S. shale plays.What Will You Learn?Some of the topics we'll discuss include:
Alert: OSHA: Coming to a Drilling Site Near You
OSHA: Coming to a Drilling Site Near You In an effort to reduce fatalities in the oil and gas industry, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) created an Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program. This program, implemented in 2012, applies to all worksites in Texas, among other states. Similar programs have been implemented in other regions. One drilling company faces proposed penalties of $50,000 after OSHA cited it for numerous safety and health violations involving a variety of hazards. OSHA inspected its Texas work site as part of this program. During the inspection, OSHA inspectors found workers at risk of potential injuries from preventable workplace hazards such as unsecured stairs and missing guardrails, electrical deficiencies, and poor housekeeping.
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
Pennsylvania HB 1576 and SB 1047; Finding a Balance Between Protection of Threatened and Endangered Species and Responsible Economic Development Published by Zahava A. BennettHouse Bill No. 1576, known as the Endangered Species Coordination Act, and its counterpart, Senate Bill No. 1047, are pending Pennsylvania legislation that would add a layer of regulatory oversight to the listing of endangered and threatened species in Pennsylvania. Click here to read more.Europe Issues “Minimum Principles” on Hydraulic Fracturing Published by Stephen C. Smith
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
EPA Creates Confusion By Promulgating New Standard for CERCLA “Appropriate Inquiry”Published by Robert D. PollittOn December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final Rule amending the standard and practices for “All Appropriate Inquiries Under CERCLA.” Click here to read more.EPA Publishes Notice of Data Availability on 2018 Emissions Inventory Modeling PlatformPublished by Edward L. Kropp 
Alert: FERC Electric Transmission Line Rate Incentives Affirmed
On January 24, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a 2012 order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) denying rehearing of a 2008 order granting rate incentives to an electric utility for various transmission projects with a total estimated cost of nearly $880 million (“Rehearing Order”).  On appeal, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (“NCUC”) challenged FERC’s decision to grant incentives for five of the projects.  NCUC argued that FERC abused its discretion by granting the incentives in 2008, and that FERC should be required to apply a subsequent change in its policy announced in 2010 to the projects at issue.
Alert: Ohio Pipeline Safety Rules Under Review
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) kicked off its 5-year review process of the Pipeline Safety Rules in Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4901:1-16 by holding a public workshop on January 16, 2014 to take input from the regulated community about suggested revisions or improvements to the rules. By statute, agency rules are required to be reviewed every 5 years to ensure that they are current, relevant and essential. Where changes are deemed necessary, rulemaking will be initiated to revise or rescind outdated rules.
Alert: WV Governor Unveils West Virginia Source Water Protection Act
Today, Governor Tomblin unveiled his bill to create the West Virginia Source Water Protection Act (WVSWPA) in response to Freedom Industries’ release of MCHM into the Elk River near downtown Charleston approximately one week ago. This legislation is intended to bolster the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) regulatory program over industrial aboveground storage tanks located within a zone of critical concern that are capable of storing regulated materials in excess of certain thresholds established by the Secretary of the DEP to the extent that such tanks are not already subject to an individual permit under an existing regulatory program involving site-specific regulation and inspection by the DEP or otherwise exempted by statute or legislative rulemaking.
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
EPA Publishes New Power Plant Emissions RulePublished by Marc C. BrysonThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for regulating carbon dioxide emissions from new fossil fuel-fired power plants in the Federal register on January 8, 2013. Click here to read more.Federal Court Finds Coal Company Liable for Selenium DischargesPublished by Laura M. Goldfarb
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
Getting the 411 on Senate Bill 411: AMD Use in Hydraulic FracturingPublished by Zahava BennettRoom-and-pillar mines have been active in Pennsylvania since the late 1700s. Bituminous coal was first commercially mined on Mount Washington in the City of Pittsburgh, just off the banks of the Monongahela River. Coal was extracted from hillside outcroppings and carried by canoe to be used at military garrisons. Resource extraction has continued in Pennsylvania to the present day. Click here to read more.Pennsylvania and West Virginia Fastest-Growing States in Natural Gas Production, but Act 13 Ruling May Impact Pennsylvania ProductionPublished by Stephen Smith
Alert: Invalidation of Oil and Gas Leases In Ohio
Over the past year, a number of State and Federal courts in Ohio have issued rulings invalidating oil and gas leases. One court even certified a state-wide class action for lessors whose leases contain a particular lease provision which was the basis for the invalidation decision. In most of the decisions, fairly standard and widely-used lease provisions have been the court’s impetus to conclude that the lease is invalid because the secondary term is perpetual and therefore void as against public policy. In many of the cases the declaration of invalidity has come during the primary term of the lease.
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
Earthworks Accountability Project Report – Its Conclusions Regarding Marcellus Flowback in Pennsylvania Published by Gary E. Slagel A recently released report by the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project out of Durango, Colorado contains some interesting statements on the amount and method of flowback disposal associated with Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale gas production. Click here to read more.EPA Efforts to Limit the Application of 8th Circuit Loss Could Result in Nationwide LitigationPublished by Marc C. Bryson
Alert: Northeast States Petition For Ohio Valley States To Be Included In The Ozone Transport Commission
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are not currently in the Ozone Transport Region (OTR) and are not currently subject to the OTR’s more stringent air emissions controls. However, nine states in the OTR petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pursuant to Clean Air Act § 176A to expand the OTR to include these Midwestern and Southern states.
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
EPA Proposes Approval and Promulgation of Redesignation Requests for West Virginia Portion of Steubenville-Weirton Nonattainment Area for 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 StandardsPublished by: Edward L. Kropp
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
It is Not Just a Question of Federal vs. State Regulation – Local Power to Regulate Oil and Gas Industry Challenged in ColoradoPublished by Armando F. BenincasaThe oil and gas industry has commenced a legal challenge to two local ballot initiatives in Colorado where voters approved extended moratoriums against the use of hydraulic fracturing within their jurisdictions. Click here to read more.Kathy G. Beckett Presides as Chair of the US Chamber of Commerce Energy, Clean Air, and Natural Resources Committee Published by Kathy G. Beckett
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
EPA Partially Approves Kentucky’s Proposed Water Quality Criteria for SeleniumPublished by Laura HoffmanThe EPA has issued a final decision on the revisions to Kentucky’s water quality standards that were proposed as part of the Department of Water’s Triennial Review. Of particular interest is the EPA’s approval of the chronic water quality criteria for selenium. Click here to read more.DEP Proposes to Fine Tune CEP Policy to Promote Environmental JusticePublished by Stephen Smith
Alert: Mechanical Integrity Assessment in Pennsylvania
Well operators in Pennsylvania must inspect each operating well at least quarterly to ensure it is in compliance with the well construction and operating requirements as required by Pa. Code title 25, § 78.88. At a minimum, inspections must determine: 1- The well-head pressure or water level measurement 2- The open flow on the annulus of the production casing or the annulus pressure if the annulus is shut in 3- If there is evidence of gas escaping from the well and the amount escaping, using measurement or best estimate of quantity 4- If there is evidence of progressive corrosion, rusting or other signs of equipment deterioration
Webinar: November 2013 - Webcast Slides - Duhig Beyond Texas: A Comparison of Overconveyance Rules Among the States
The famous Texas case of Duhig v. Peavy-Moore Lumber Co. is where the Supreme Court of Texas first addressed the overconveyancing of mineral interests. This webcast will first introduce Duhig principles, then will compare how the overconveyance of mineral rights impacts buyers and sellers across the major oil producing states. In this webcast, Zach Gaver will discuss how Duhig impacts the states and will cover the following: When do we have a Duhig problem?How to apply the rulesExceptions to Duhig Overview of states including CO, ND, WY
Webinar: November 2013 - Webcast Presentation - Duhig Beyond Texas: A Comparison of Overconveyance Rules Among the States
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. The famous Texas case of Duhig v. Peavy-Moore Lumber Co. is where the Supreme Court of Texas first addressed the overconveyancing of mineral interests.  This webcast will first introduce Duhig principles, then will compare how the overconveyance of mineral rights impacts buyers and sellers across the major oil producing states. In this webcast, Zach Gaver will discuss how Duhig impacts the states and will cover the following: When do we have a Duhig problem?How to apply the rulesExceptions to Duhig Overview of states including CO, ND, WY
Alert: Colorado Announces Sweeping New Emissions Regulations on the Oil and Gas Industry
In the midst of a significant oil and gas boom in Colorado and facing added pressure from environmental groups to tighten air pollution requirements, on November 18, 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper announced new, statewide methane emissions regulations and other air quality standards on the State’s oil and gas industry.  Following a public rulemaking process, these state regulations were proposed by Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment to the Air Quality Control Commission, which could adopt and finalize the rules as early as February 2014.The regulations were designed with the purpose of reducing the amount of methane emissions, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and other hydrocarbons that leak into the atmosphere in connection with oil and gas operations.  To that end, the proposed regulations would generally, among other things:
Alert: Legislative Changes to Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act and Lease Forfeiture Statute
Lease Forfeiture - Notice of Failure to File Ohio Revised Code Section 5301.332 O.R.C. Section 5301.332 governs the process by which a lessor, or the lessor’s successor in interest, can have a lessee’s lease forfeited for noncompliance with an instrument’s terms. Previously, if a lessee, within 60 days, failed to notify the person who filed an “affidavit of forfeiture” and failed to file for record an affidavit stating that the lease had not been abandoned, then the county recorder would annotate on the margin of the record of the lease "This lease cancelled pursuant to affidavit of forfeiture recorded in Lease Vol...., Page...."
Alert: Employers Can't Shorten the Statute of Limitations for FLSA and EPA Claims
Employers Can't Shorten the Statute of Limitations for FLSA and EPA Claims Observant employers who have taken note of the Department of Labor’s increasing enforcement activity in the oil and gas industry may be looking for creative ways to limit their liability. However, a recent Sixth Circuit case makes it clear that trying to shorten employees’ time to bring wage and hour claims may not be the way to go.
Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
Low Methane Leakage from Shale Gas Wells VerifiedPublished by Gary E. SlagelCritics of shale gas development have frequently charged that methane leaks and emissions from shale gas operations are high enough to present no real advantage over other fossil fuels from a greenhouse gas standpoint. Click here to read more.Court Orders Disclosure of All Chemicals Used Since 2009 at Gas Company Drilling SitePublished by Robert D. Pollitt
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
USEPA Revises Maximum Statutory Civil Penalty Amounts by Rule Promulgated November 6, 2013Published by Richard L. LewisThe Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 2461, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, 31 U.S.C. 3701) requires EPA to adjust its statutory civil penalties for inflation at least once every 4 years. Click here to read more.Federal Judge Mandates USEPA Set Schedule for Final Rule-Making Regarding Coal Ash ResiduePublished by Armando F. Benincasa
Alert: PUCO Finalizes Rules Implementing SB 315’s New Requirements For Gas Gathering
On October 30, 2013, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (“PUCO”) finalized rules proposed late last year to implement new requirements brought about by the enactment of Senate Bill 315 and to clarify the applicability of the existing rules, in particular to gas gathering lines and related midstream operations.
Alert: Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review USEPA Greenhouse Gas PermittingPublished by Kathy G. BeckettThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 agreed to hear the challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations concerning greenhouse gases. Petitioners, to include industry groups and various states, expressed concern about the merits of the EPA decision to regulate mobile and stationary sources for greenhouse gases. Click here to read more.      
Webinar: October 2013 - Webcast Presentation - Energy Related Litigation - Personal Injury
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.   With the extensive expansion of oil and gas work in the region comes the inevitable personal injury lawsuits. Those suits require your company and your insurers to deal with a litany of claims involving multiple parties in multiple jurisdictions. This jurisdictional survey will help educate you on the “hot button” issues involved in those suits filed in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and offer recommendations on how to protect yourself. In this webcast, Randy Fife and Phillip Glyptis will discuss how courts in each of these jurisdictions will treat the following claims:
Webinar: October 2013 - Webcast Slides - Energy Related Litigation - Personal Injury
With the extensive expansion of oil and gas work in the region comes the inevitable personal injury lawsuits. Those suits require your company and your insurers to deal with a litany of claims involving multiple parties in multiple jurisdictions. This jurisdictional survey will help educate you on the “hot button” issues involved in those suits filed in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and offer recommendations on how to protect yourself.In this webcast, Randy Fife and Phillip Glyptis will discuss how courts in each of these jurisdictions will treat the following claims: Deliberate intent Premises liability Ultra-hazardous and ultra-dangerous activities Compensatory and punitive damages
Alert: EPA Seeking Comments on CBM Guidelines
This notice is for Steptoe & Johnson clients who have interests in coalbed methane (CBM). As you may know, the U.S. EPA has been, for the past six years, evaluating the need to develop specific effluent limit guidelines (ELGs) for CBM-related water discharges. This effort was driven by the EPA’s concerns over the high levels of total dissolved solids in CBM-related wastewater streams. After considerable data collection and review, the EPA proposed in August, 2013 to “delist” this ELG effort. What this means is that the EPA is proposing to stop working on this particular issue and is seeking public comment on its proposal to do so.
Overtime Issues Troubling the Energy Sector
Overtime Issues Troubling the Energy Sector As a result of the expansion of oil and gas activities in the region and the increasing jobs associated with the expansion, the Department of Labor has been stepping up its enforcement initiative for oil and gas companies and related businesses. Because of this, it has become more important than ever to ensure that employees are being paid overtime properly. Here are a few issues that often arise with calculating overtime pay.
Webinar: September 2013 - Webcast Presentation - Financing Strategies in the Oil and Gas Industry
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. The explosion of the shale gas development in the U.S. has led to expanded growth opportunities for many areas of business, including banks and financial institutions. In order to raise capital to operate various aspects of their businesses, oil and gas operators have established numerous related and affiliated entities which require financing. It is extremely important for banks and financial institutions interested in entering this market to have an understanding of the borrower’s business, their assets and collateral, any debts and obligations and other sources of income. This webcast will provide an overview of these areas and more.
Webinar: September 2013 - Webcast Slides - Financing Strategies in the Oil & Gas Industry
The explosion of the shale gas development in the U.S. has led to expanded growth opportunities for many areas of business, including banks and financial institutions. In order to raise capital to operate various aspects of their businesses, oil and gas operators have established numerous related and affiliated entities which require financing. It is extremely important for banks and financial institutions interested in entering this market to have an understanding of the borrower’s business, their assets and collateral, any debts and obligations and other sources of income. This webcast will provide an overview of these areas and more. In this energy and banking industry focused webcast Kristian Jamieson and Erika Groves will discuss:
Alert: DOJ Ramps Up Interest in Oil and Gas Industry
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division reached an agreement with two natural gas producers who each paid fines of over one-half million dollars to settle claims of anticompetitive collaboration in lease purchasing.  Recently, the DOJ has continued to investigate suspected anticompetitive activity in the oil and gas industry, while European competition regulators are investigating suspected oil company collusion overseas.  
Alert: “Precious Little” Extends Operator’s Lease
On August 13, 2013, the Honorable Judge Brann, sitting in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, issued a memorandum opinion granting Summary Judgment in favor of Lessee-Defendants Chief Exploration & Development, LLC, et al. (“Chief”). The dispute arose when the Lessor-Plaintiffs asserted that that their leases with Chief had expired at the end of the respective primary terms. Ultimately, the court sided with Chief because it agreed that its physical activity, behind-the-scenes efforts and good faith intent to drill constituted “commencing operations” sufficient to perpetuate the lease beyond its primary term.
Alert: FERC Proposal – Easing Communications Between Gas Pipelines and Electric Utilities
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) through recent efforts has sought to better understand the interface between the electric and natural gas pipeline industries and improve coordination between the two given the increase in gas-fired electric generation and other reliability concerns. Productive coordination efforts rely heavily on the ability of the two industry segments to share detailed, non-public information about events and operational conditions on their systems, which may be barred by existing FERC prohibitions (e.g., FERC Standards of Conduct and tariffs) on sharing such information.
Webinar: July 2013 Webcast Presentation - Wage and Hour Claims in the Energy Industry
Why should you worry about wage and hour compliance and Department of Labor Audits? Errors in compliance with state wage and hour laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act are frequent and the cost of fines and penalties are staggering.As a result of the expansion of shale gas activities in the region and the increasing number of oil and gas jobs, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has increased its enforcement efforts under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The DOL believes that up to 80% of employers are not in compliance with the FLSA and the Wage and Hour Division has announced a multiyear enforcement initiative focused on oil and gas companies and related businesses such as tree clearing, quarries, road construction, paving, masonry, and water and stone hauling.
Alert: PA Governor Corbett Signs Act Providing for Mandatory Disclosures in Royalty Statements
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed SB 259 on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The legislation requires natural gas producers operating in Pennsylvania to standardize all deductions listed on royalty check payment stubs. More specifically, producers must include well identification information, the net value of total sales after deductions, the owners' interest in sales from the lease, and the total amount of severance and other production taxes and other permitted deductions on royalty statements provided to their lessors.
Alert: Implied Covenant to Develop in Ohio Negated by Express Language in Lease: Bilbaran Farm, Inc. v. Bakerwell, Inc. et al.
On June 12, 2013, Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals held that a general waiver of implied covenants in an oil and gas lease negates the lessee’s duty to develop other formations and acreage.In 2003, Bilbaran Farm, Inc. leased 275.67 acres to Professional Petroleum Services, Inc. After drilling three wells in the Clinton formation, Professional assigned the lease to Bakerwell, Inc. The lease stipulated “no implied covenants…have been made or relied upon by the [parties][.]”Bilbaran filed suit against Bakerwell to release the undeveloped formations and additional acreage from the lease. Bilbaran argued the Defendants’ inaction defied the purpose of the original assignment of fully developing the property for oil and gas extraction and thus, the lessees relinquished their rights in the undeveloped property.
Alert: PA Superior Court - No Implied Duty to Drill the Marcellus Shale
On June 21, 2013, in the non-precedential decision Caldwell v. Kriebel Resources, Co., LLC, No. 1305 WDA 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas’ granting of Lessees’ preliminary objections that the complaint failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. The Lessors claimed that their 2001 Lease had terminated despite the fact that they admitted that the Lease had several producing shallow wells.Lessors contended that the Lessees violated the implied covenant to develop the Lease by not drilling horizontal wells producing from the Marcellus Shale. The Court held that there was no implied duty to develop all strata, relying on a provision that rejected implied covenants under the Lease.
Webinar: June 2013 - Webcast Recording - “Energy Industry – Indemnification Issues with Subcontractors”
In this Keynote Webcast, Michelle Piziak and Joanna Tabit will address various forms of risk allocation with specific focus on express indemnification provisions. Common law and statutory challenges to indemnification agreements will be discussed and key contract terminology analyzed. Practical considerations essential to the pursuit of contractual indemnification will be provided. The webcast discussion will include:
Alert: Oil and Gas Regulation Sole Domain of State
(Originally printed in the ABA Litigation News)  
Alert: WV Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of "Surface" Deeds
Yesterday the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, in Faith United Methodist Church v. Morgan, No. 12-0080, 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 691 (June 13, 2013), issued an important opinion for title practitioners clarifying the meaning and proper construction of the term "surface" when used in a deed, especially important when the grantor owns both surface and subsurface minerals.Here, the Court held that a 1907 deed granting “surface only” in a 225-acre tract of land expressed clear intent, that the term had a definite and certain meaning, and that the grantor did not intend to convey any interest in the oil and gas.
Alert: What Constitutes “Commencing a Well” in Pennsylvania
On May 24, 2013, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a Memorandum Opinion in which it addressed what activities constitute “commencing a well.” On June 6, 2006, Range Resources – Appalachia, LLC (through its predecessor entity, Great Lakes Energy Partners, LLC) and Good Will Hunting Club, Inc. entered into an oil and gas lease with a five-year primary term.  Range could extend that primary term provided it “commence a well on the Leased Premises….within five (5) years from [June 6, 2006] and….drill said well with due diligence.” 
Newsletter: A Role for Community Banks in West Virginia’s Oil and Gas Industry
While eight and nine figure deals in the oil and gas industry are frequently publicized, the less high profile deals have significant impact on a community and create opportunities for community banks to profit from our state’s natural resources.  Community banks assist purchasers in the acquisition of property, operating assets and working capital and can be an important wealth management resource for sellers of oil and gas interests.  This article analyzes the potential borrower, collateral package, required due diligence, and lien attachment and perfection in this transaction.  It also addresses lending to the secondary and tertiary businesses that depend on the oil and gas industry’s revenue stream.
Whitepaper: India Appears to be Adopting Favorable Terms for International Shale Gas Investment and Technology
The recent electricity blackout in India underscored India’s acute energy challenge arising from its burgeoning economic development. Miners were trapped underground, trains stopped, while 620 million people in northern and eastern India experienced the world’s largest blackout.  India, a country of 1.21 billion people, strives to keep up with China and other developing countries, with hopes someday of being a superpower.  The blackout highlights an infrastructure adjustment that must be addressed for those plans to progress.
Webinar: May 2013 - Webcast Slides - Energy Emergency – Handling an Accident Investigation in Anticipation of Litigation
The first few hours after an accident can have a dramatic influence on both personal and corporate consequences in the months and years that follow.  Understanding the “bright-line” rules of the attorney-client and attorney work-product privileges are critical to making informed decisions.  Protecting those privileges and the information they legitimately cover are an essential risk management tool. In this webcast, Steve McGowan and Monté Williams will review the fundamentals of these important legal privileges and discuss decisions, points and strategies to be used in accident investigations in the energy industry.  
Alert: The Quick and the Dead
The Quick and the Dead: Cessation and Production of Shut-Ins During the Secondary Term of An Oil and Gas Lease. Published in the North Dakota Law ReviewVolume 88, Number 3 (2012). 
Webinar: April 2013 - Webcast Slides - 2013 Update: Missing Heirs and Unknown Mineral Owners
Determining how to obtain necessary leases and amendments from unknown mineral owners is one of the biggest challenges to oil and gas development in WV, PA and OH.  Statutes and codes from state to state differ and can prove to be challenging to work through.  First presented in September 2012, this webcast will expand on the questions most pressing for producers facing this problem. Topics DiscussedHow much diligence is "due"Steps for leasing missing heirsHow to deal with the "holdouts"Partitioning the minerals
Webinar: April 2013 - Webcast Recording - 2013 Update: Missing Heirs and Unknown Mineral Owners
Click here to listen and watch a recording of the Energy Keynote Webcast from April 24, 2013.   Determining how to obtain necessary leases and amendments from unknown mineral owners is one of the biggest challenges to oil and gas development in WV, PA and OH.  Statutes and codes from state to state differ and can prove to be challenging to work through.  First presented in September 2012, this webcast will expand on the questions most pressing for producers facing this problem.  Topics discussed: How much diligence is "due" Steps for leasing missing heirs How to deal with the "holdouts" Partitioning the minerals
Webinar: March 2013 - Webcast Slides - MSHA Citations and Orders: Preparing for Negotiation & Litigation
Preparing to negotiate or litigate MSHA citations and orders is an increasingly tedious task.  Jonathan Ellis and Peter Raupp will discuss the litigation process for MSHA citations and orders, including tips on what you can do at the time of the MSHA inspection to prepare for the eventual negotiation and/or possible litigation of any citations and orders issued.Topics to be discussed:The litigation and negotiation process for MSHA citations and ordersTips on documenting to assist in defending against citations and ordersIssues related to spoliation of evidenceRecent FMSHRC decisions
Webinar: March 2013 - Webcast Presentation - MSHA Citations and Orders: Preparing for Negotiation & Litigation
Click the following link to listen to a recording of the webcast:  MSHA Citations and Orders Preparing to negotiate or litigate MSHA citations and orders is an increasingly tedious task.  Jonathan Ellis and Peter Raupp will discuss the litigation process for MSHA citations and orders, including tips on what you can do at the time of the MSHA inspection to prepare for the eventual negotiation and/or possible litigation of any citations and orders issued. Topics discussed: The litigation and negotiation process for MSHA citations and orders Tips on documenting to assist in defending against citations and orders Issues related to spoliation of evidence Recent FMSHRC decisions
Alert: Power Line Rights of Way - FERC Approves Revised Vegetation Management Reliability Standard
On March 21, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) approved new rules for managing vegetation along power line rights of way.    The purpose of the approved modifications to existing electric reliability standards is to ensure the continued reliable operation of the nation’s electric grid, or “bulk-power system.”  A recurring cause in many blackouts has been vegetation-related outages.  The revised standard is intended to prevent the risk of vegetation-related outages that could lead to a sustained outage, but it is not designed to address severe weather events and natural disasters. 
Alert: PA Judge Orders Marcellus Development Settlement Unsealed
On March 20, 2013, in a 32-page opinion, President Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca of the Court of Common Pleas for Washington County, Pennsylvania ordered that a sealed, court-approved settlement between Plaintiffs, Stephanie and Chris Hallowich, and Defendants, Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners and Wiliams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners, to be unsealed at the request of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Washington Observer-Reporter.In their May 2010 lawsuit, the Hallowiches claimed that their health had been damaged by Defendants' Marcellus shale drilling.  The Hallowiches and the Defendants were able to reach a settlement agreement in July 2011.  The records pertaining to this settlement were sealed at Defendants' request by the former Washington County Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky on August 23, 2011.  
Webinar: February 2013 - Webcast Presentation - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) & the Energy Industry
Click the following link to listen to a recording of the webcast: FCPA & the Energy Industry The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments to foreign officials to obtain or keep business.  Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?  As with most simple-sounding things, it’s not as straight-forward  as it sounds.  This webcast, created specifically at businesses in the energy sector, goes through the nuts and bolts of FCPA compliance. In this webcast, William Wilmoth discusses: Primer on the FCPA statute Case studies Situations to keep top-of-mind The impact on business
Webinar: February 2013 - Webcast Slides - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) & the Energy Industry
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits payments to foreign officials to obtain or keep business.  Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?  As with most simple-sounding things, it’s not as straight-forward  as it sounds.  This webcast, created specifically at businesses in the energy sector, goes through the nuts and bolts of FCPA compliance. In this webcast, William Wilmoth discusses: Primer on the FCPA statute Case studies Situations to keep top-of-mind The impact on business
Alert: Ohio EPA Proposes Air Permitting Changes for Oil and Gas Well Sites
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed several changes to its general permits for oil and gas well site production operations.  These changes would:
Webinar: January 2013 - Webcast Presentation - Recap of 2012 Mine Safety Developments and Forecast for 2013
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.January 2013- Energy Keynote Webcast Recap fo 2012 Mine Safety Developments and Forecast for 2013 2012 brought many changes to the mining industry including regulatory enactments, such as the revised underground mine examination rule, and the anticipated pattern of violations rule.  These regulatory enactments along with MSHA’s “backlog” program and civil penalty parameters for administrative law judges will be discussed in this lead-off energy webcast for 2013.  Jeff Phillips and Jonathan Ellis will provide a recap of 2012 developments and discuss what 2013 holds for MSHA and the mining industry. In this webcast, Jeff Phillips and Jonathan Ellis will discuss:
Webinar: January 2013 - Webcast Slides - Recap of 2012 Mine Safety Developments and Forecast for 2013
2012 brought many changes to the mining industry including regulatory enactments, such as the revised underground mine examination rule, and the anticipated pattern of violations rule.  These regulatory enactments along with MSHA’s “backlog” program and civil penalty parameters for administrative law judges will be discussed in this lead-off energy webcast for 2013.  Jeff Phillips and Jonathan Ellis will provide a recap of 2012 developments and discuss what 2013 holds for MSHA and the mining industry.In this webcast, Jeff Phillips and Jonathan Ellis will discuss:Developments in the mining industry in 2012Legal decision regarding document production and flagrant violationsCriminal ramifications in light of the UBB accidentIndustry forecast for 2013
Alert: USEPA Creates Uncertainty in Appalachia with Air Quality Permitting Memorandum
In the face of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in late 2012 which struck down United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) use of "functional relatedness" in determining whether sources of air emissions should be aggregated for purposes of making permit determinations under the Clean Air Act, the agency announced that while it would amend its policy in the states covered by the Sixth Circuit, it would continue using its historic interdependency analysis in the rest of the states.   As a result, industry operations subject to air permitting will find potentially diverging air aggregation decisions in Ohio where the Sixth Circuit ruling will control, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the traditional USEPA policy will continue.
Alert: Court Sides with Operator in Well Location Consent Dispute
On December 27, 2012, in Meeko v. Southwestern Energy Prod. Co., 3:CV-11-1409, 2012 WL 6721076, 2012 LEXIS 182073 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 27, 2012), the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to defendant Southwestern Energy Production Company in a breach of contract claim relating to a well location dispute.In 2008, the plaintiff landowner executed an oil and gas lease with Elexco Land services, Inc., Southwestern’s predecessor, which contained a clause that granted the lessor the right to approve the location of well sites, access, roads, and pipelines, subject to the proviso that consent “shall not be unreasonably withheld.”
Alert: States May Sue EPA Over Methane Emissions
Seven northeastern states – New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont – have notified the Administrator of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they plan to sue the agency over recently adopted rules to control air pollution from oil and gas operations unless the agency takes steps to correct perceived deficiencies in those rules and their treatment of greenhouse gas emissions.  The New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas production operations – which became effective on October 15, 2012 – require “green completions” to minimize emissions during flowback from hydraulically fractured wells, as well as certain other emission controls on various processes associated with oil and gas production.  However, according to the states, the rules did not directly address emissions of methane – a greenhouse gas.  The states wan
Webinar: November 2012 - Webcast Slides - Dart Board Litigation in the Utica & Marcellus Shales
Development of the Utica and Marcellus Shales has created a significant change in the legal environment, types of claims, and new types of plaintiffs and plaintiffs' attorneys involved. Plaintiffs now employ so-called "dart board" litigation which makes defending claims more complex and significant. New types of claims have developed including individual claims against landmen and notaries.In this webcast, Phillip Glyptis will provide an update on the claims being brought, as well as provide recommendations on how to control and potentially avoid being involved in litigation.Discussion includes: Current litigation trends Why OH, PA, and WV are different Claims in mineral title litigation Ways to protect yourself from litigation
Alert: West Virginia Supreme Court Rules Surface Owners Have No Right to Appeal Well Work Permits
Today the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding whether surface owners have a right to appeal well work permits issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in the state's circuit courts. 
Alert: Wage and Hour Alert for Energy Industry
On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Department of Labor (DOL) Investigator Diana Smargie spoke to the North Central WV Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter. Smargie made a number of points during her talk, one of which she was careful to highlight. As part of its 2013 enforcement initiative, the DOL will be targeting small energy producers and oil and gas service providers.  As Smargie put it, a lot of people in the industry have come up through the ranks being paid wrong, so when they are in a position to pay employees themselves, they really do not know how to pay properly and they violate the wage and hour law.So what are the chief issues she sees?  Her top three problems:
Webinar: October 2012 - Webcast Slides - Legislative Rule-Making in West Virginia and the Proposed WVDEP Horizontal Well Rules
Legislative Rule-Making in West Virginia and the Proposed WVDEP Horizontal Well RulesFollowing passage of the West Virginia Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act in December 2011, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a proposed legislative rule, 35 CSR, Series 8 (the "Horizontal Well Rule"), addressing the regulation and production of natural gas from horizontal wells in West Virginia.  In response to public comments received, the DEP recently filed a modified version of its Horizontal Well Rule.  This is the final step to be taken by the agency prior to the consideration of the rule by the legislature.  The legislative rule-making committee will now begin its own review of the modified Horizontal Well Rule in hopes that  it will be ready for consideration by the whole legislature during the upcoming 2013 Regular Session.Discussion includes
Webinar: October 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Legislative Rule-Making in West Virginia and the Proposed WVDEP Horizontal Well Rules
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. October 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast Legislative Rule-Making in West Virginia and the Proposed WVDEP Horizontal Well Rules
Webinar: August 2012 - Webcast Slides - Trucking Companies to Independent Contractors: New Regulations in the Utica & Marcellus Shales
Trucking Companies to Independent Contractors: New Regulations in the Utica & Marcellus Shales On June 5, 2012 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued updated guidance to clarify the applicability of the “Oilfield Operations” exceptions to the "Hours of Service" regulations for commercial drivers. The exception has gotten more attention recently as a result of increased Marcellus drilling activities in the Northeast; and a number of highway deaths linked to commercial drivers operating vehicles in excess of the permitted hours of service.
Webinar: August 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Trucking Companies to Independent Contractors: New Regulations in the Utica & Marcellus Shales
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.August 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast Trucking Companies to Independent Contractors: New Regulations in the Utica & Marcellus ShalesOn June 5, 2012 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued updated guidance to clarify the applicability of the “Oilfield Operations” exceptions to the "Hours of Service" regulations for commercial drivers. The exception has gotten more attention recently as a result of increased Marcellus drilling activities in the Northeast; and a number of highway deaths linked to commercial drivers operating vehicles in excess of the permitted hours of service.
Webinar: July 2012 - Webcast Slides - Mineral Title Litigation & Litigation Trends in the Utica and Marcellus Shales
Mineral Title Litigation & Litigation Trends in the Utica and Marcellus ShalesThe ongoing development of the Utica and Marcellus shales has resulted in increased mineral title litigation and varying litigation trends throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  In this webcast, Kevin West and Jim Wright will discuss these issues and how they affect energy developers doing business in the region.Discussion includes:Curing title issuesHow WV, OH, and PA are differentCurrent litigation trends in the Utica and MarcellusWays to protect yourself
Webinar: June 2012 - Webcast Slides - Senate Bill 315, New Regulatory Requirements for Oil and Gas Drilling, Disposal and Gathering in Ohio
Senate Bill 315, New Regulatory Requirements for Oil and Gas Drilling, Disposal and Gathering in OhioThe Ohio General Assembly has enacted a comprehensive energy bill, Senate Bill 315, which includes several provisions affecting the natural gas industry. The bill makes several significant regulatory changes impacting horizontal natural gas and liquid production. The bill includes a provision requiring producers to report volume and chemical descriptions for all fluids used in the production process and the total volume of recycled fluids used. The legislation also imposes additional requirements regarding water sampling and source disclosure. In this webcast, Neal Pierce and Kathy Milenkovski will discuss the provisions and impacts of Senate Bill 315.  Kevin West will moderate the discussion of the Senate Bill.Discussion includes:
Webinar: June 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Senate Bill 315, New Regulatory Requirements for Oil and Gas Drilling, Disposal and Gathering in Ohio
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.June 2012- Energy Keynote Webcast Senate Bill 315, New Regulatory Requirements for Oil and Gas Drilling, Disposal and Gathering in Ohio The Ohio General Assembly has enacted a comprehensive energy bill, Senate Bill 315, which includes several provisions affecting the natural gas industry. 
Webinar: June 2012 - Webcast Slides - Employment in Ohio: 10 Things Energy Developers Should Know
Employment in Ohio: 10 Things Energy Developers Should KnowOhio, like all states, has its own particular nuances on employment law that affect employers. In order to effectively operate in the State, you need to know the lay of the land. You will be guided through employment law issues unique to business operations in Ohio. In this webcast, Toney Stroud and Todd Sarver will discuss employment law issues that affect energy developers doing business in the Utica Shale. Discussion includes: Employment discrimination Employment-at-will Wrongful termination Pay practices Workers' compensation Retaliation and leave laws  
Webinar: June 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Employment in Ohio: 10 Things Energy Developers Should Know
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.June 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast Employment in Ohio: 10 Things Energy Developers Should KnowOhio, like all states, has its own particular nuances on employment law that affect employers. In order to effectively operate in the State, you need to know the lay of the land. You will be guided through employment law issues unique to business operations in Ohio. In this webcast, Toney Stroud and Todd Sarver will discuss employment law issues that affect energy developers doing business in the Utica Shale. Discussion includes:
Webinar: May 2012 - Webcast Slides - Current Issues in Titles, Spacing and Pooling in the Utica Shale
Current Issues in Titles, Spacing and Pooling in the Utica ShaleThe development of the Utica Shale in Ohio presents many unique issues involving mineral title and leasing and also drilling units and pooling.  In this webcast, Neal Pierce and Tim McKeen will discuss some of the current title issues in Ohio and provide an overview of Ohio’s spacing and pooling law. Discussion includes:Treatment of old leasesOhio’s dormant mineral actAvailable regulatory tools for establishing drilling unitsPooling state and other publicly owned landsAnalysis of recent efforts to form multiple well units
Webinar: May 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Current Issues in Titles, Spacing and Pooling in the Utica Shale
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.May 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast Current Issues in Titles, Spacing and Pooling in the Utica ShaleThe development of the Utica Shale in Ohio presents many unique issues involving mineral title and leasing and also drilling units and pooling.  In this webcast, Neal Pierce and Tim McKeen will discuss some of the current title issues in Ohio and provide an overview of Ohio’s spacing and pooling law. Discussion includes:
Webinar: March 2012 - Webcast Slides - Utica Deals: Purchase, Sale and Financing Considerations in Ohio
Utica Deals: Purchase, Sale and Financing Considerations in OhioWhether you are the purchaser, seller or lender for the purchase of Utica Shale assets, certain aspects of the merger and acquisition transaction tend to be particularly problematic in many deals.  The failure of the seller to follow business and legal formalities on an ongoing basis can create issues for the buyer.  Furthermore, the lack of proper documentation and defects in the chain of title can make due diligence particularly troublesome.In this webcast, Bryan Prosek and Andrew Kalgreen will discuss some of the issues with transactions in the Utica Shale and Ohio. Discussion will include:
Webinar: March 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Utica Deals: Purchase, Sale and Financing Considerations in Ohio
Click to play. Whether you are the purchaser, seller or lender for the purchase of Utica Shale assets, certain aspects of the merger and acquisition transaction tend to be particularly problematic in many deals.  The failure of the seller to follow business and legal formalities on an ongoing basis can create issues for the buyer.  Furthermore, the lack of proper documentation and defects in the chain of title can make due diligence particularly troublesome.In this webcast, Bryan Prosek and Andrew Kalgreen will discuss some of the issues with transactions in the Utica Shale and Ohio. Discussion will include:
Webinar: December 2011 - Webcast Slides - New WV Legislation Regulates Horizontal Gas Wells - A Discussion of Key Facets of the Bill
New WV Legislation Regulates Horizontal Gas Wells - A Discussion of Key Facets of the BillThe West Virginia Legislature passed landmark legislation on December 14th to regulate horizontal oil and gas wells.  Although the bill technically addresses horizontal wells in general, the purpose of the legislation is to address the oncoming growth of oil and gas development in the Marcellus shale in West Virginia. In this webcast, Energy Team Leader Sharon Flanery, Government Relations Coordinator Gil White, and Environmental and Regulatory attorney Armando Benincasa will discuss the legislation and the significant issues addressed within the bill. Discussion included:
Webinar: December 2011 - Webcast Presentation - New WV Legislation Regulates Horizontal Gas Wells - A Discussion of Key Facets of the Bill
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.December 2011 - Energy Keynote Webcast New WV Legislation Regulates Horizontal Gas Wells - A Discussion of Key Facets of the Bill
Webinar: November 2011 - Webcast Slides - MSHA Citation Defense - An Operator's Guide
MSHA Citation Defense - An Operator's GuideUnderstanding and handling MSHA citations and petitions can be a tedious task. Steptoe & Johnson attorneys have excellent insight into MSHA and how to handle citations and will share some of this knowledge with you this month. This webcast will address the litigation process of MSHA citations and petitions, how the negotiation process works with a Department of Labor attorney, and will give you tips as to what you can do at the time of inspections/citations to help your attorneys defend you. Discussion included: The litigation process of MSHA citations and petitions Update on the backlog project Demonstration of the negotiation process Your defense: what you can do to help    
Webinar: November 2011 - Webcast Presentation - MSHA Citation Defense - An Operator's Guide
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. Understanding and handling MSHA citations and petitions can be a tedious task. Steptoe & Johnson attorneys have excellent insight into MSHA and how to handle citations and will share some of this knowledge with you this month.  This webcast will address the litigation process of MSHA citations and petitions, how the negotiation process works with a Department of Labor attorney, and will give you tips as to what you can do at the time of inspections/citations to help your attorneys defend you. Discussion included:
Webinar: October 2011 - Webcast Slides - Ohio Title Issues
Ohio Title Issues As the Marcellus and Utica shale plays continue to grow in Ohio, issues regarding title have come to the forefront.  This webcast will address the specifics of Ohio titles and what the law specifies in regards to minerals, royalties, apportionment and other topics of concern. Discussion included:Ohio's Dormant Mineral ActRecording requirementsWhere to find recordsTitle standards  
Webinar: October 2011 - Webcast Presentation - Ohio Title Issues
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.October 2011 - Energy Keynote Webcast Ohio Title IssuesAs the Marcellus and Utica shale plays continue to grow in Ohio, issues regarding title have come to the forefront. This webcast addresses the specifics of Ohio titles and what the law specifies in regards to minerals, royalties, apportionment and other topics of concern.Discussion included:Ohio's Dormant Mineral ActRecording requirementsWhere to find recordsTitle standards
Webinar: September 2011 - Energy Webcast Slides - Shale Plays- Thinking Internationally
Shale Plays - Thinking InternationallyAs natural gas development increases around the globe, challenges have come to the forefront of operating internationally. This webcast will address the challenges and benefits of international operations including economic, political, and environmental views. Topics addressed: The growing world of identified global shale plays Why think internationally? Challenges and benefits of international operations The big difference - law, business, culture
Webinar: September 2011 - Webcast Presentation - Shale Plays: Thinking Internationally
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. September 2011 - Energy Keynote Webcast Shale Plays - Thinking Internationally As natural gas development increases around the globe, challenges have come to the forefront of operating internationally.  This webcast will address the challenges and benefits of international operations including economic, political, and environmental views.  Topics addressed: The growing world of identified global shale plays Why think internationally? Challenges and benefits of international operations The big difference - law, business, culture
Webinar: August 2011 - Webcast Presentation - Pipeline Safety in the Utica and Marcellus Shale: An Overview of OH, PA, and WV
To watch and listen to the recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE. August 2011 - Energy Keynote Webcast Pipeline Safety in the Utica and Marcellus Shale: An Overview of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia As natural gas development increases in the Utica and Marcellus formations, midstream or gathering pipeline and processing facilities are being constructed to transport increased production to market. This webinar will address the state and federal pipeline safety regulation of those facilities in WV, OH and PA. We will also address how to handle the unexpected crisis situations in regards to natural gas pipeline ruptures and accidents. Topics addressed:
Webinar: August 2011 - Energy Webcast Slides - Pipeline Safety in the Utica and Marcellus Shale: An Overview of OH, PA, and WV
Pipeline Safety in the Utica and Marcellus Shale:  An Overview of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia  As natural gas development increases in the Utica and Marcellus formations, midstream or gathering pipeline and processing facilities are being constructed to transport increased production to market.  This webinar will address the state and federal pipeline safety regulation of those facilities in WV, OH and PA.  We will also address how to handle the unexpected crisis situations in regards to natural gas pipeline ruptures and accidents. Topics addressed: Federal pipeline safety regulations State and federal production and gathering regulations An overview of regulations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia Crisis management in regards to pipeline safety
Video: Challenges of Energy Litigation
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Whitepaper: Conducting Business in Conflict Zones
As opportunities for oil and gas development arise in the global marketplace, many multinational corporations and law firms are operating in areas that are under or undeveloped or that have been recently devastated by war.  Energy development in conflict areas with abundant oil, gas, and shale-gas reserves has the potential to be tremendously profitable.  For example, it is estimated that Iraqi Kurdistan has 45 billion barrels of oil and as much as 6 trillion cubic meters of gas.  It is also predicted that Afghanistan may hold hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.  Along with having enormous profit potential, energy development in conflict zones is critical to rebuilding stable local economies and to promoting lasting peace.  The U.S.
Alert: PA Law Opens More State Lands for Energy Development
On October 8, 2012, the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act ("Act") was enacted into the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Act expands the state-owned lands available for resource extraction activities by conferring power to the Department of General Services on behalf of the Commonwealth to enter into leases or make contracts on certain state lands for such purposes.
Alert: PA PUC Decides Local Ordinance Violates Act 13
Last week, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) ruled that the South Fayette Township’s ordinance governing oil and gas well development and processing violates provisions of Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Act 13), Pennsylvania’s primary law regulating oil and gas operations.
Alert: FERC Allows Pipeline to Prohibit Backhaul Shippers From Nominating Forward Haul Service
Shippers with firm transportation capacity on interstate pipelines often nominate their contracts to move gas in numerous directions on the pipeline on a secondary point basis, subject to the pipeline’s tariff scheduling priorities. Those with firm primary forward haul capacity might nominate to back haul gas on a secondary point basis. Some pipelines sell back haul service at primary points – perhaps at discounted firm transportation rates. Other pipelines provide separate services (rate schedules) for back haul transportation service between primary points, but, case in point, not all back haul services are created equal.
Alert: Alert: Judge Rules in Favor of Pa. Natural Gas Industry
Federal Court Broadly Construes Kilmer v. Elexco Land Services, Inc.
Alert: DRBC: Calls for Studies Will Not Delay Drilling Rules
Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission Anticipates New Rules Will Not Be Delayed by Calls for More Studies
Alert: Pa. Governor Order Bans Oil and Gas Leasing in State Forests
Pennsylvania Orders Moratorium On Oil and Gas Leases In State Forests Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has signed an executive order banning future oil and gas leasing of lands owned or managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Governor Rendell's order does not affect existing leases on state forest land, but it does prohibit any further leasing of the 2.2 million acres of forest owned or managed by the DCNR. Since 2008, Pennsylvania has generated $4.5 million in royalties from leases on approximately 700,000 acres of state land overlying the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.
Alert: FERC Seeks Public Comment
FERC Seeks Comment on Intrastate Pipeline Capacity TransfersOn October 21, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in Docket No. RM11-1 seeking public comment on the issue of "whether and how holders of firm interstate capacity on some intrastate pipelines can allow others to use their capacity, including to what extent buy/sell transactions should be permitted." The comment period will last for 60 days following publication of the NOI in the Federal Register.
Alert: EPA Finalizes New Rules for Natural Gas Industry
EPA Finalizes Natural Gas Industry GHG Reporting Requirements On November 8, 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized reporting requirements for the petroleum and natural gas industry under the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Program, 40 C.F.R Part 98. Beginning in 2011, petroleum and natural gas facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year are required to monitor and report all greenhouse gas emissions to EPA. Data collection will begin January 1, 2011, with the first annual reports due to EPA in 2012.
Alert: FERC Clarifies Jurisdiction
FERC Clarifies Jurisdiction Over Interconnection Agreements Between a Qualifying Facility and a Public Utility On November 3, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the petition of a public utility seeking clarification that FERC has jurisdiction over interconnection agreements between a Qualifying Facility (QF) and a public utility only if the QF actually sells its output to a third party. In the same matter, an intervener sought clarification that interconnection agreements with QFs do not have to be filed with FERC as long as the host public utility purchases all of the QF's power.
Alert: NY State Assembly Passes Fracing Moratorium
Lame Duck Session of the New York State Assembly Approves Moratorium on Fracing A lame duck session of the New York State Assembly voted 93-43 on Monday in favor of a six-month moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration in the state. Coupled with the state Senate?s vote for the moratorium in the summer and the current Governor?s support for the moratorium, the vote means that no gas drilling permits utilizing this method of exploration can be issued before May 15, 2011.
Alert: DRBC Releases New Rules for Natural Gas Developers
New Proposed Rules for Natural Gas Development in the Delaware River Basin are Released
Alert: NY Gov Ends Moratorium, Stops High Volume Hydro Fracing
New York Governor Vetoes Moratorium Bill; Issues Executive Order Prohibiting High-Volume, Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing until July 1, 2011New York Governor David Paterson has issued an executive order prohibiting the use of high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing as a means of oil and gas exploration in New York until at least July 1, 2011.
Alert: WVU Report Details Marcellus Shale Economic Impact
Impact on WV Economy Due to Marcellus Shale industry Detailed in WVU Report In a report released this week, researchers from the WVU College of Business and Economics concluded that "[t]he economic impact of the Marcellus Shale development [on the state of West Virginia] for 2009 was $2.35 billion of business volume and accounted for generation of 7,600 jobs." And this positive impact on the state?s economy is expected to grow into the future.
Alert: Pa. Court Interprets Habendum Clause of Oil and Gas Leases
Pennsylvania Superior Court Interprets Nonstandard Habendum Clause of Oil and Gas Leases In Hite v. Falcon Partners Trust, 2011 WL 9632 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2011), the Pennsylvania Superior Court interpreted the nonstandard habendum clause of certain oil and gas leases, which read:  
Alert: The Marcellus Shale: The Real Deal for the Construction Industry?
The Marcellus Shale: Is it the Real Deal for the Construction Industry?From Williamsport to Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, through the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and continuing to Charleston, the area's rural roads and one realizes that a mini industrial revolution is occurring throughout our tri-state region. Small town hotels and restaurants are overflowing with the commerce that has come with the Marcellus Shale activity. But what does this activity mean for the construction industry? While the activity is easy to observe, until recently, the actual economic impacts have not been quantified.
Alert: FERC Issues No Action Letter on AMAs
FERC Issues No Action Letter on Asset Management Arrangements
Alert: PA DEP: No Health Threat from Marcellus Natural Gas Emissions
Pennsylvania DEP Study Confirms No Threat to Human Health from Marcellus EmissionsAccording to the results of an air quality study released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Monday, emissions from natural gas operations in the Marcellus shale region do not pose a threat to public health. The DEP's study confirmed the results of a previous study performed in southwest Pennsylvania, which showed that drilling emissions do not constitute a human health risk.
Alert: Court Upholds Validity of Decades-Old Pipeline Easements
Federal Court Upholds Validity of Decades-Old Pipeline EasementsThe United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago, recently upheld the validity of several decades-old pipeline easements affecting 120 miles on a pipeline construction route. Enbridge Pipelines (Illinois) L.L.C., v. Michael S. Moore, et al., Nos. 10-2268, 10-2305, 10-2313, 10-2850 (7th Circuit Jan. 24, 2011). The decision is important because it interprets "maintenance" of pipelines, a provision found in many such easements and often controlling on whether the easement remains in force and effect, in a manner favorable to pipeline companies.The appeal was a consolidation of several lower court judgments rendered in favor of Enbridge. The easements had been obtained by Enbridge?s predecessor for the purpose of constructing a 10 inch pipeline in 1939.
Alert: Court Denies Challenge to PJM's Reliability Pricing Model
Court Denies Challenge to PJM?s Reliability Pricing ModelOn February 8, 2011, a federal court denied a challenge made by two public utilities commissions, to FERC?s orders approving PJM Interconnection, LLC?s (PJM) 2005 proposed Reliability Pricing Model (RPM), which was designed to encourage investment in electrical capacity. Maryland Public Service Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 09-1296 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 8, 2011).
Alert: When Does a PA Conveyance of "Surface" Include Oil and Gas (and When Does It Not)?
When Does a Pennsylvania Conveyance of "Surface" Include Oil and Gas (and When Does It Not)? In Yuscavage v. Hamlin, 137 A.2d 242 (Pa. 1958), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a deed conveying "all the surface and right of soil conveyed "all the surface and right of soil" and the oil and gas estate thereunder. In Fulton v. Brown, No. 12642 CD 2006, 2009 WL 7166112 (C.P. Indiana 2009), the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County was faced with a case in which parties disputed whether a deed conveying "surface" also conveyed the oil and gas under that surface. The Fulton court distinguished Yuscavage and ruled that it did not.
Alert: The Effect of Marcellus Shale Regulation on Midstream Pipeline Companies
Much has been written about the major natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation located in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. But much of the focus has been on "producing" the gas - getting it out of the ground. Of course, it is the role of pipeline companies in their various business models to get that gas to market. Depending on the role a pipeline company plays ? for whom and to where it transports the gas, for example - will determine the extent to which it is regulated by a state public service or utility commission or even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC").
Alert: WV Legislature Seeks to Increase Oil and Gas Drilling Rules
New Legislation Regulating Horizontal Wells on the Fast Track in West Virginia
Alert: Steptoe & Johnson Enhances FERC Practice
Addition of Gayleen Smith Adds to FERC & Energy PracticeSteptoe & Johnson is pleased to announce that Gayleen Smith, CPA, CCEP, has joined the firm and will assist the Energy and Natural Resources Practice Teams.As a Certified Public Accountant, Ms. Smith has 20-plus years of broad-based experience in various aspects of internal audit, FERC, SOX and general compliance, finance and public accounting. She was the former FERC Compliance Manager for a Fortune 500 energy company with FERC-regulated natural gas and electric businesses. She obtained her Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) certificate in 2006.
Alert: New York Threatens to Sue DRBC Over Fracing Study
New York Threatens to Sue DRBC over NEPA Fracing StudyNew York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said he will sue the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) if it does not commit to performing a full environmental impact study of its proposed hydraulic fracturing, or fracing, regulations within 30 days.The DRBC is a federal-interstate body created through a Congressionally-approved compact between the federal government and governors of the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Commission has legal authority to approve or disapprove activities that may have a substantial effect on the water resources within the 13,500 square mile Delaware River Basin -- including over 2,300 square miles in New York.
Alert: FERC Standard for Temporary Deactivation of Facilities
FERC Denies Request to Temporarily Deactivate Compression - Future Review of Proposals Involving Temporary Cessation of ServicesOn April 27, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (?FERC?) denied a pipeline's request, under Section 7(c)(1)(B) of the Natural Gas Act ("NGA"), to authorize the temporary deactivation for up to four years of twenty-one compressor units totaling 138,060 horsepower (hp) at nine compressor facilities. The pipeline had also requested that the reduction be reflected in the available unsubscribed capacity section of its electronic bulletin board for the duration of the temporary deactivation. El Paso Natural Gas Company, 135 FERC ? 61,079 (2011).
Alert: Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force Holds First Meeting
On May 4, the inaugural meeting of the Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force, created by acting West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, took place in Charleston. The purpose of the Task Force is economic development: to enable West Virginia to retain the benefit of the ethane-rich Marcellus shale natural gas being extracted here, by successfully recruiting the construction of one or more ethane cracking facilities in the State. West Virginia?s key competitors for new ethane crackers were discussed, as were the advantages of locating such a facility in West Virginia, which include close proximity to the ethane, pre-existing infra-structure and human resources.  
Alert: Ohio EPA: Cities Not Permitted to Treat Wastewater
Treating Brine in Wastewater Treatment Plants Not an Option, According to Ohio EPAThe Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced yesterday that cities cannot treat wastewater from natural gas wells in their sewage plants, cutting off a substantial source of potential revenue for local governments.The agency says it is concerned that the wastewater poses a pollution risk and could negatively impact drinking water. The decision announced yesterday to the public and in letters to both state and local officials directly impacts the communities of East Liverpool and Warren, both of which had hoped to reap significant financial rewards from the treatment of industry wastewater.
Alert: PA Regulation of Natural Gas Gathering and Midstream Activity
On May 19, 2011, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ("PaPUC") took much-awaited action in the Laser Northeast Gathering Company, LLC ("Laser") proceeding - a precedent setting proceeding of great interest to landowners, consumers, natural gas producers and gathering and midstream companies operating in Pennsylvania.  
Alert: WVU Professors Say Marcellus Done Right is Good for State
In interviews with The Dominion Post, two WVU professors, a geologist and a water expert, make the case that Marcellus drilling done right can be safe and a benefit to the state. Dr. Tim Carr is the Marshall S. Miller Professor of Energy in the Eberly College Geology and Geography Department and Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz directs West Virginia University's Water Research Institute. 
Alert: Zoning Ordinances, the Marcellus Opportunity, and Regional Developments
With the rapid growth of gas well permitting throughout the region, many towns are rushing to adopt laws and zoning restrictions to limit Marcellus Shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing. For example, in late 2010, the Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance banning natural gas drilling in Pittsburgh. In May, 2011, the Wellsburg, WV (Brooke County) City Council reportedly passed an ordinance to ban drilling within the Wellsburg city limits, and to ban fracking within one mile of the city's corporate limits. Other city councils are in the process of considering such ordinances. On June 7, the Morgantown, WV City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to ban fracking within Morgantown as well as within one mile of the Morgantown city limits.
Alert: Zoning Ordinances, the Marcellus Opportunity, and Regional Developments
With the rapid growth of gas well permitting throughout the region, many towns are rushing to adopt laws and zoning restrictions to limit Marcellus Shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing. For example, in late 2010, the Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance banning natural gas drilling in Pittsburgh. In May, 2011, the Wellsburg, WV (Brooke County) City Council reportedly passed an ordinance to ban drilling within the Wellsburg city limits, and to ban fracking within one mile of the city?s corporate limits. Other city councils are in the process of considering such ordinances. On June 7, the Morgantown, WV City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to ban fracking within Morgantown as well as within one mile of the Morgantown city limits.
Alert: Supreme Court Leaves GHG Regulation to EPA
The United States Supreme Court today threw out a lawsuit brought by several states, which targeted the five largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States: American Electric Power Co., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. Inc., Xcel Energy Inc., and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The suit sought to have the courts impose restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from the electric utilities, arguing that they constitute a public nuisance.  
Alert: Ohio Senate OK's Drilling in State Parks and Forests
The Ohio Senate approved a bill last week allowing oil and gas drilling in state parks, forests and other state-owned lands. The bill must return to the House for approval of changes made by the Senate but is expected to move quickly and to be on Governor Kasich?s desk soon. Governor Kasich has indicated he supports the bill. While the bill is likely to be approved soon, state officials say it will be a year or more before anyone starts drilling on any state lands.
Alert: PA DEP Settles Dispute with Chesapeake Bay Foundation
In a July 6, 2011 settlement of an action pending before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources resolved appeals filed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation of certain permits issued by the Department. Among the provisions of the settlement are that:1.) DEP will "establish as its objective" completion of non-expedited E&S applications within 60 calendar days of filing unless the applicant qualifies for expedited processing. Expedited processing will not be available for many types of applications.
Alert: WV Governor Issues Executive Order Regulating Marcellus Shale Exploration
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin today issued an Executive Order ("Order") requiring the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ("WVDEP") to develop emergency rules regarding the potential environmental impacts of Marcellus shale exploration. The Order affirmed the Governor's previous statements supporting the safe and sound development of the Marcellus shale in West VirginiaWith regard to the regulatory requirements to be developed, the scope of the emergency rule-making to be undertaken by the WVDEP includes requirements that oil and gas operators:
Alert: PA Law Opens More State Lands for Energy Resource Development
On October 8, 2012, the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act ("Act") was enacted into the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Act expands the state-owned lands available for resource extraction activities by conferring power to the Department of General Services on behalf of the Commonwealth to enter into leases or make contracts on certain state lands for such purposes. The Act contains provisions pertinent to two categories of public lands: (1) "state-owned land" which is land that is not "state system land" and is not land currently owned or administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, or the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and; (2) "state system land" which is land owned or controlled by the State System of Higher Education of the Commonwealth. 
Alert: PA Marcellus Commission Issues Report, Recommendations
On July 22nd, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission released its report, setting forth 96 recommendations designed to ensure the responsible development of the Commonwealth's natural gas resources. The Commission suggested:
Alert: Ohio EPA Proposes Air Permits for Drilling Sites
During the past several months, Ohio EPA has been working to determine what, if any, air pollution requirements apply to well-site operations in the oil and gas industry ? in particular, in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Ohio EPA?s analysis has determined that the following types of equipment and processes commonly found at well sites may need air permits:
Alert: Judge Overturns City of Morgantown Fracking Ban
In a ruling late on Friday afternoon, Circuit Court Judge Susan Tucker overturned the city of Morgantown's ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits and extending one mile outside the city's municipal boundaries.In a broad ruling, Judge Tucker found that regulation of hydraulic fracturing was the responsibility of the state and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and not the city. The Court noted the Governor's recent Executive Order and legislative efforts being made to address the issue.
Alert: DEP Files Emergency Rule for Horizontal Drilling
Pursuant to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's July 12, 2011 Executive Order, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection late yesterday filed an emergency rule that will apply to horizontal wells in West Virginia, as well as pad sites in excess of three acres in size and certain water withdrawals.
Alert: PA PUC Clarifies Public Utility Criteria
Continuing developments in the Laser Northeast gathering proceeding impact the regulation of gathering and midstream companies operating in Pennsylvania. Background: Laser Northeast proposes to construct a gathering system in Pennsylvania extending into New York where it is to interconnect with an interstate natural gas pipeline. Its purpose is to provide gathering service to producers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (?FERC?) previously agreed that the system performs a gathering function under FERC?s applicable test. In Pennsylvania, Laser is seeking ?public utility? status under Pennsylvania law, which, if granted, would also provide Laser with the power of eminent domain.
Alert: Laser Northeast Withdraws PaPUC Application
As our prior alerts concerning the Laser Northeast Gathering Company, LLC (?Laser?) proceeding have stated, the Laser proceeding is a precedent-setting proceeding of great interest to landowners, consumers, natural gas producers and gathering and midstream companies operating in Pennsylvania.
Alert: Superior Court Challenges Dunham Rule for Marcellus Shale
In 1882, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced a presumption that a reservation of ?minerals? does not include oil absent evidence within the four corners of the deed of a contrary intent. Dunham v. Kirkpatick, 101 Pa. 36 (1882). In 1960, the Supreme Court announced that its decision in Dunham was a rule of Pennsylvania property law and that pursuant to the Dunham logic, a grant or reservation of ?oil? would not include ?gas? absent clear expression of the parties? intent to do so. Highland v. Commonwealth, 161 A.2d 390 (Pa. 1960) was a rule of Pennsylvania property law.
Alert: 3rd Circuit Upholds Private Property Rights
In Minard Run Oil Company, et al v. United States Forest Service, et al Nos. 10-265 and 10-2332 the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit faced an appeal of a courageous opinion by US District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin preliminarily enjoining efforts of the US Forest Service to impose policies that would have virtually terminated any meaningful rights of the owners of oil and gas underlying the Allegheny National Forest to develop their properties. The actions of the Forest Service in the case are remarkable.  
Alert: Planning Key to Success with Ohio Oil & Gas Rules
As the pace of exploration and development in Ohio's shale play increases and horizontal wells become more common, operators want to be aware of the interplay of Ohio's oil and gas conservation law with their plans and development schedule. Effective use of the conservation rules requires advanced planning and understanding of the lead times built into the process.
Alert: Public Comment Period for Oil and Gas Well Site General Permit
The Ohio EPA has announced that a draft oil and gas well site general air permit is available for review and comment. This general permit is designed to cover air emissions from equipment installed for use during the production phase of a Marcellus or Utica/Point Pleasant shale oil and gas well. While a draft of the general permit has been available for review and the agency has been accepting input regarding the content of the permit for months, yesterday marked the official start of the 30-day public comment period and the administrative review process which will allow the permit to become effective. 
Alert: Mineral Interests vs Wind Farm Conflict
In a time of ever-expanding forms of sustainable energy, one type of energy development can often conflict with another. A mineral owner has asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to determine whose interests in energy development will prevail: the owner of a mineral estate or the developer of electric energy-producing wind turbines, commonly referred to as a "wind farm."
Alert: Delaware River Basin Commission Releases Final Rules On Natural Gas Development
On Tuesday, the Delaware River Basin Commission (?DRBC?) released its revised rules on natural gas development in the basin after a public comment period during which the commission received over 69,000 comments. The revised rules maintain many of the attributes of the initial draft rules issued on December 9, 2010. Notably, the rules permit the drilling of 300 wells and call for a reassessment after 18 months.
Alert: FERC Prohibits Multiple-Affiliate Bidding in Pipeline Open Seasons
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") approved new regulations in a final rule issued on November 17, 2011, geared toward protecting single bidders and toward the goal of assuring fair distribution of pipeline capacity in the open season context. Companies, and companies with affiliates, bidding in open seasons for pipeline capacity should be aware of these new regulations.
Alert: WV Circuit Court Ruling Offers Guidance for Deed Interpretation
The Preston County Circuit Court of West Virginia (the "Court") was recently charged with determining the ownership of a one-seventh interest in a 225 acre oil and gas tract. The deed purported to convey "the surface only."Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court held that the oil and gas also passed unto grantee. At issue was the conveyance of:
Alert: WV Governor Will Call Special Session to Address Marcellus Shale
At a meeting this morning in Wheeling, West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin stated his intention to call state legislators to Charleston next week for a special session to deal with Marcellus Shale policy. Governor Tomblin made the announcement during a meeting with 400 state and local officials during the 25th Annual Project BEST breakfast at Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge.The calling of a special session reflects Governor Tomblin?s clear desire that a Marcellus Shale bill receive the attention and focus it deserves, and before other legislative measures will be addressed during the regular session of the legislature. In making the announcement, Governor Tomblin commented that all of the stakeholders have met and a good and responsible bill will be introduced.
Alert: Mineral Interests v. Wind Farm Conflict
This is an update from an alert on October 25, 2011. (Click here to read the October 25, 2011 alert).On October 18, 2011, the Osage Nation, an Oklahoma Indian tribe, filed litigation asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to address the issues that arise when multiple energy producers? interests collide; that is, whether or not the construction of a wind farm will interfere with the Osage Nation?s access to and extraction and development of the minerals underlying the disputed surface.
Alert: West Virginia Passes Horizontal Well Legislation
The West Virginia Legislature today passed landmark legislation to regulate horizontal oil and gas wells. Although the bill technically addresses horizontal wells in general, the purpose of the legislation is to address the oncoming growth of oil and gas development in the Marcellus shale in West Virginia.The bill represents a significant victory for both Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, whose compromise legislation easily passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate with only minor amendments and will become law upon his signature, and the leadership of both houses of the Legislature, which managed to pass significant legislation in this short special session.The new law will provide:
Alert: Transporting All of that Marcellus Shale Gas to the Market - The Critical Effect of Regulation on Midstream Pipeline Companies
Much has been written about the major natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation located in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. But much of the focus has been on "producing" the gas - getting it out of the ground. Of course, it is the role of pipeline companies in their various business models to get that gas to market. Depending on the role a pipeline company plays - for whom and to where it transports the gas, for example - will determine the extent to which it is regulated by a state public service or utility commission or even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC"). 
Alert: West Virginia House of Delegates Passes Legislation to Lure a Cracker Facility
In ongoing attempts to best position the state to attract an ethane cracker facility to the state, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed out House Bill 4086 yesterday which grants substantial tax incentives for large investments of capitol in West Virginia aimed at growing manufacturing. 
Alert: West Virginia Legislature Passes Legislation to Lure a Cracker Facility
In ongoing attempts to best position the state to attract an ethane cracker facility to the state, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 4086 which grants substantial tax incentives for large investments of capitol in West Virginia aimed at growing manufacturing. The West Virginia State Senate has now passed this bill as well. The purpose of the bill is to allow certain real or personal property to be assessed at salvage value for the 25 year period following when it was placed in service. Competition between the various Appalachian states is fierce as it is anticipated that one and possibly two cracker facilities will be located in the region to take advantage of the wet gas byproducts being produced in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
Alert: PA Court Upholds Right To File Single Assignments Containing Multiple Leases
By opinion dated January 27, 2012, the Honorable Rochelle S. Friedman, Senior Judge, writing for a panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County requiring Ginger Golden, Recorder of Deeds of Wayne County, "to rescind her policy against recording 'blanket assignments' and to record all documents that are within the scope of Pennsylvania's recording statutes, provided they are properly acknowledged and the appropriate statutory fee has been paid." (A "blanket assignment" would appear to be any single assignment intended to assign multiple leases.) Hopefully, this decision will end the unfortunate practices not only of Ms. Golden but of several other recorders across the Commonwealth who have imposed arbitrary limitations upon the recording of oil and gas lease assignments. 
Alert: Ohio EPA Finalizes General Air Permit for Oil & Natural Gas Production Wells
On February 1, 2012, Ohio EPA issued a final general air permit for oil and natural gas production well sites. The general permit covers a variety of emissions sources found at most shale gas well sites, including internal combustion engines, generators, dehydration systems, storage tanks and flares. It also contains emissions limits, operating restrictions, monitoring, testing and reporting requirements. The permit only covers operations associated with production; drilling and fracking operations are not regulated by the permit, nor are midstream operations or processing facilities.
Alert: PA General Assembly Set to Pass Marcellus Impact Fee Regulations
Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed measures to govern the extraction of natural gas from the swath of Marcellus shale underlying the state. The plan now moves to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass a final vote.
Alert: Pennsylvania's Act 127: New Pipeline Safety Regulation
Effective February 20, 2012, Act 127, or the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act ("Act" or "Act 127"), expands the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission;s ("PaPUC") jurisdiction over operators who transport gas or hazardous liquids by pipeline or pipeline facility in Pennsylvania by requiring registration and subsequent assessment of costs to all "pipeline operators." A primary focus of Act 127 is to provide the PaPUC with jurisdiction to regulate the safety aspects of non-public utility onshore gathering lines, and hydrocarbon liquid lines.
Alert: OH, PA Seek to Tighten Regulation of Shale Gas Production
Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine has ordered his office to review and strengthen the state's laws as they pertain to the oil and gas industry. According to comments DeWine made to the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, Ohio is much softer on violators than states like New York and Pennsylvania, which impose per-day civil penalties. Currently, Ohio?s maximum fine for an environmental violation is $2,500 to $20,000 per incident, depending on the nature of the violation. DeWine says that should be raised to at least $10,000 per day.
Alert: PA Governor Corbett Signs Marcellus Legislation
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law yesterday sweeping measures to govern the extraction of natural gas from the swath of Marcellus shale underlying the state. The Governor's signature caps a three-year struggle in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass meaningful energy regulations and quiets calls for an impact fee on producers.  
Alert: Corps of Engineers Issues New Nationwide Permits
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has just released its final re-issued Nationwide Permits (NWPs) for 2012 which will include a new NWP applicable for oil and gas pads  NWP 39. While these new NWPs have not yet been published in the Federal Register, they are now available on the Corps' website. Click here to see the new NWPs.
Alert: PA Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets Preemption in Surface Mining Act
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in a decision which narrowly interprets the preemption provision of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act of November 30, 1971.On November 23, 2011, the Court decided Hoffman Mining Co. v. Zoning Hearing Board. After the effective date of the Surface Mining Act, Adams Township, Cambria County, adopted a Zoning Ordinance which permitted mining in a district known as the Conservancy (S) District only by special exception. The zoning ordinance required ?[a]ll mining, excavating and blasting activities? in the district to maintain a setback of at least 1000 feet from all residential structures.
Alert: Regulatory Changes Coming to Oil and Gas Industry in Ohio
Ohio Governor John Kasich announced plans to propose significant statutory and/or regulatory changes to the state's energy policies. The Governor announced in a speech in Cleveland that he is working with lawmakers to prepare legislation to address energy policy generally, including new requirements regarding renewable energy sources.Kasich's announcement comes in the wake of a study claiming that shale drilling will have a dramatic impact on Ohio's economy. Click here to view the study.
Alert: OH Court Limits Surface Rights from Mineral Reservation
On January 17, 2012, the Harrison County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas ruled that a 1959 mineral reservation did not authorize the use of a well on the surface of the premises to remove oil and gas located beyond its boundaries. Jewett Sportsmen & Farmers Club, Inc. v. Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C., Case No. CVH-2011-0113.
Alert: WVDEP Proposes Stormwater Permit for Oil & Gas Operations
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a draft State General Water Pollution Control Permit proposing to regulate the discharge of stormwater runoff associated with oil and gas construction activities.The proposed Permit would affect discharges from exploration, production, processing, treatment or transmission facilities disturbing one acre of land or greater. The Permit would be issued for a four year term.
Alert: Ohio DNR Sets New Brine Transport, Disposal Standards
The new regulatory framework makes Ohio's rules for brine monitoring and disposal among the nation's toughest. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) developed the new regulations after researching a link between a series of seismic events in the Youngstown area and a brine disposal well.The new safeguards include a prohibition against any new wells being drilled into the Precambrian basement rock formation; mandating that operators submit extensive geological data before drilling; and implementation of state-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring devices including automatic shut-off switches and electronic data recorders.
Alert: Shell Selects PA Site for Ethane Cracker
Shell Chemical LP (Shell) announced today that it has selected to evaluate a site in Potter and Center Townships in Beaver County near Monaca, PA for its ethane cracker facility. Sites in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio were considered and officials from each state did their best to sway Shell's decision in their favor. A cracker facility will mean new jobs for the ever growing shale production industry in Appalachia and a boon for the businesses that help support it.
Alert: Ohio Governor Kasich's New Budget - How it Impacts the Natural Gas Industry
During a press conference devoted to his Mid-Biennium Budget Review, Ohio Governor John Kasich unveiled several proposals affecting the natural gas industry. Governor Kasich's proposals address a wide range of topics, with the headline item being an income tax reduction of $900 million to $1 billion during the next five years financed in part by an increase in severance taxes on oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids production. Several other proposals impacting the oil and natural gas industry were also announced during the press conference. These proposals include updating well construction standards, requiring disclosure of the components of hydraulic fracturing solutions, updating pipeline safety regulations, streamlining permitting procedures, and promoting the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.
Alert: Supreme Court Sides with Landowner in EPA Order Challenge
On March 21, 2012, the United States Supreme Court decided Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 10-1062. The Court held that individuals may bring a civil action under Chapter 7 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 704, to challenge an administrative compliance order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency under Section 309 of the Clean Water Act. 33 U.S.C. § 1319.
Alert: PA Supreme Court Affirms Good Faith Test of Production in Paying Quantities
On Monday, March 26, 2012, in T.W. Phillips Gas & Oil Co. v. Jedlicka, No. 19 WAP 2009, 2012 Pa. LEXIS 627 (Pa. Mar. 26, 2012), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reaffirmed and expanded its rule in Young v. Forest Oil, 194 Pa. 243, 45 A. 121 (Pa. 1899), that whether an oil and gas lease is producing in paying quantities is to be determined by the subjective good faith judgment of the lessee.
Alert: PA Supreme Court Allows Appeal of Butler Case
 On April 3, 2012 in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate ex rel. Warren, 760 MAL 2011, 2012 WL 1087928 (Pa. Apr. 3, 2012), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court entered a per curiam order granting an Allowance of Appeal of the decision of the Superior Court in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, 2011 PA Super 198 (Pa. Super. Ct. Sept. 7, 2011). In Butler, the Superior Court reversed the decision of a Pennsylvania trial court to rely upon longstanding Pennsylvania Supreme Court authority to dismiss a suit claiming that a reservation of "minerals" included a reservation of shale gas. The issue that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear is as follows:
Alert: PHMSA Report Notes Progress: Focus Remains Pipeline Safety
Spurred by pipeline incidents in San Bruno, California and Allentown, Pennsylvania that resulted in 22 deaths, the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has focused on improving the safe and reliable delivery of resources through pipelines across the country. The PHMSA called upon the industry to rehabilitate, repair, and improve the quality of pipelines being installed and replaced.  
Alert: WV DEP Issues Draft State 401 Certifications
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection today issued draft state Section 401 water quality certifications for the newly issued Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permits (NWPs). The certifications provide specific terms and conditions for obtaining state water quality certification which is required for an activity approved though a Section 404 Nationwide Permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to its authority under the federal Clean Water Act.
Alert: PA Court Delays Act 13's Preemption of Local Zoning Ordinances
On April 11, 2012, a senior judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court entered a preliminary injunction deferring the effective date of the provisions of Pennsylvania's Act 13 of 2012 affecting the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas operations for an additional 120 days. The injunction was entered in a proceeding brought by various municipalities seeking to have the entire act declared to be invalid. That action continues. Pennsylvania?s Commonwealth Court acts as the court of original jurisdiction, or trial court, for lawsuits filed by or against the Commonwealth, and the intermediate appellate court for appeals from state and local agency and government actions.
Alert: Federal Working Group Charged with Oversight of Natural Gas Production
President Obama has issued a new Executive Order requiring a host of federal agencies to coordinate efforts to oversee natural gas development. The new working group will be headed by White House Energy Advisor Heather Zichal, and will include representatives from a dozen federal agencies, including the Departments of the Interior, Transportation and Energy, as well as a representative from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.The order comes as industry criticism of federal agencies continues to increase as duplicative and excessive regulation threaten to stymie a natural gas boom that the President has stated is vital to the security of the nation.
Alert: FERC Issues 2011 State of the Market Report
On April 19, 2012, the Office of Enforcement of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its 2011 State of the Markets Report, assessing the progress and status of the natural gas, electric, and other energy markets over the past year.  
Alert: Land Management Bureau Issues Fracing Regs for Public Lands
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released in draft form highly anticipated federal rules which would regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The BLM, the federal agency with authority over the development of mineral rights on federal lands and a part of the Department of the Interior, expressed three goals it meant to achieve with the drafting of the proposed rule:
Alert: PA PUC Issues Order for Unconventional Well Impact Fees
On May 10, 2012, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ("PUC") issued its final implementation order for Chapter 23 of the Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Act (Act 13). The PUC has regulatory authority under Chapters 23 and 33 of Act 13; however the ongoing litigation in the Commonwealth Court over Chapter 33 (providing for restrictions on municipal zoning of oil and gas operations) has caused the PUC to delay the implementation of Chapter 33. 
Alert: PSC Involved in Policy for Providing Water Service to Marcellus Natural Gas Wells for Fracturing
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) recently ruled that a public service district (PSD) violated various state laws and regulations by refusing to provide water service to a natural gas producer (PSC Case No. 11-1514-PWD-C). The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by a natural gas producer alleging that the PSD discriminated against it by agreeing to provide water service only to a competing natural gas producer. The PSD has also been ordered to file a policy for handling future requests for water service to fracture Marcellus natural gas wells.
Alert: Ohio General Assembly Enacts Energy Bill
On May 24, 2012, the Ohio General Assembly enacted a comprehensive energy bill (Senate Bill 315) which addresses several provisions affecting the natural gas industry. The legislation has been forwarded to Governor John Kasich who is expected to sign the bill into law without delay. The new provisions will become effective ninety (90) days after the Governor's signature.Highlights of the significant regulatory changes impacting horizontal natural gas and liquid production, include:
Alert: PA Commission Denies Public Utility Status to Gathering and Midstream Company
In prior alerts, we addressed developments in the Laser Northeast Gathering Company, LLC ("Laser") proceeding involving Laser's proposal to be a "public utility" with eminent domain authority providing midstream and gathering services to producers. Laser is a precedent-setting proceeding of great interest to landowners, natural gas producers and gathering and midstream companies operating in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's ("PaPUC") orders in Laser are the subject of an appeal. A second proceeding before the PaPUC is now unfolding and will likely also be precedent-setting.
Alert: New Ohio Rules Affect Well Construction
May was a busy month for lawmakers in Ohio. Last month, a legislative panel approved new rules for the construction drilling wells in the state, and the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 315 aimed at regulating oil and gas companies. The new regulations come as more and more energy producers migrate to Ohio looking to tap energy reserves in the Utica shale.
Alert: WVDEP Issues Draft Horizontal Well State Rule
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has filed its proposed Horizontal Well Development Rule, 35 Code of State Rules, Series 8, with the West Virginia Secretary of State. Filing of the rule was mandated by the passage of House Bill 401 last December which created the Horizontal Well Act, West Virginia Code 22-6A-1, et seq.
Alert: Circuit Court Upholds FERC Permit of PA Pipeline - Impact of Shale Gas Development
On June 12, 2012, a three-judge panel of the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FERC properly approved the 39-mile MARC 1 pipeline through Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming counties in Pennsylvania. A coalition of environmental groups and landowners challenged FERC's decision, arguing that FERC did not properly analyze the potential impacts from development of the Marcellus shale natural gas reserves.  
Alert: OH, PA, TX, WV Ranked Globally in Petroleum Survey
West Virginia ranked tenth, down from sixth in 2011; Ohio ranked 14th, down from second; and Pennsylvania ranked 34th, an improvement from 65th place in 2011 in the sixth annual Fraser Institute Global Petroleum Survey, published by the Canada-based think tank.Out of 147 jurisdictions ranked in the All Inclusive Index, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and North Dakota took the top four places with the Canadian province of Manitoba rounding out the top five. The Netherlands was ranked sixth, New Mexico and Kansas seventh and eighth respectively and Denmark ninth. Read the complete survey results.
Alert: FERC Schedules Regional Conferences on Gas & Electricity Market Coordination
"These standards will establish communication protocols between interstate pipelines and power plant operators and transmission owners and operators. Through this rulemaking, the Commission is seeking to improve coordination between the gas and electric industries in order to limit miscommunications about scheduling of gas-fired generators." Words from a recent proposed rulemaking on the need for gas and electric coordination? No. This statement is from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ("FERC") October 25, 2006 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket Nos. RM96-1 and RM05-5), which resulted in issuance of FERC Order No. 698 on June 25, 2007.
Alert: WV Issues Section 401 Water Quality Certification Conditions for Nationwide Permits
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued its Section 401 Water Quality Certification General and Special Conditions for the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Nationwide Permits (NWPs) issued earlier this year pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act for dredge and fill activities in waters of the United States.
Alert: PA Court Throws Out Act 13 Provisions
In a 4-3 decision, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down portions of the state's new law dubbed Act 13 - governing Marcellus shale activities as unconstitutional. In their decision, the Court ruled that the restrictions on local zoning violated constitutional due process and thereby nullified those provisions in Act 13.
Alert: NIOSH and Fracing
Based on recent presentations by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) one can surmise that the agency is taking a very active interest in hydraulic fracturing (fracing). Silica exposure seems to be the initial target of the agency.  
Alert: Court Reverses EPA Decision to Aggregate Air Sources from Natural Gas Operations
In an important decision on August 7th related to the aggregation of air emissions in the oil and gas industry, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] which would have required Summit Petroleum Corporation to aggregate all air emission sources from various wells, pipelines, and a processing facility located in a 43 square mile area as a single source. The appeals court ruled that the EPA's contention that the company's natural gas sweetening plant and various sour gas production wells which fed into the plant together formed a single source of air emissions was contrary to the plain meaning of the term adjacent.
Alert: Water Service to Marcellus Natural Gas Wells for Fracturing - PSC Provides Further Guidance
Earlier this year an administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) ruled that a public service district (PSD) violated various state laws and regulations by refusing to provide water service to a natural gas producer (PSC Case No. 11-1514-PWD-C). The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by a natural gas producer alleging that the PSD discriminated against it by agreeing to provide water service only to a competing natural gas producer. The ALJ ordered the PSD to file a policy for handling future requests for water service to fracture Marcellus natural gas wells.
Alert: Final NSPS for Oil and Gas Industry Published in Federal Register
The final New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for the oil and natural gas sector was published in the Federal Register last week and will become effective on October 15, 2012. The key component of the final rules is a requirement to use 'reduced emissions completion' or 'green completion' to capture natural gas that escapes into the air from wells which are hydraulically fractured. Using green completion, gas and liquid hydrocarbons are separated from the flowback that comes from the well as it is being prepared for production. This approach is expected to yield a nearly 95 percent reduction in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the more than 11,000 new hydraulically fractured gas wells each year.
Alert: Clean Air Transport Rule Thrown Out
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday vacated US EPA?s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, finding that it violates federal law. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, commonly referred to as CSAPR or the Clean Air Transport Rule, had replaced US EPA?s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was also remanded to EPA in 2008 for various problems.
Alert: Opportunities in International Shale Gas Development
In a recent white paper, I have outlined how India has proposed lucrative terms for foreign companies to come into India to help with shale gas development. As gas prices fall domestically, gas demands in countries such as India, China and Japan are at an all time high. The prolific nature of shale gas basins in many countries including India, make the circumstances attractive for foreign investment in those countries.Following are a few key points from the report that I believe will be of interest to energy developers and investors:
Alert: Natural Gas Storage Field Boundary Extension vs. Production Interests
Do you produce gas or oil near a gas storage field? Do you intend to do so? Do you have an operating agreement with the storage field operator? What if storage field gas migrates into your production field or strata? What happens if your production operations threaten the integrity of the storage field?
Alert: PA Public Utility Commission Releases Impact Fee Data
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released its first report on Monday on the impact fees resulting from the state's new Marcellus shale law, dubbed Act 13. The PUC is the agency in charge of collecting and disseminating the fees. According to the PUC, producers have paid a total of $197 million in fees for spud wells retroactive to December 2011-a better than expected outcome. The agency released its totals one week after the September 3 fee payment due date.
Alert: District Court Grants Summary Judgment to Mineral Owners Against the U.S. Forest Service
In Minard Run Oil Co. v. United States Forest Serv., C.A. No. 09-125 Erie (W.D. Pa. September 6, 2012), Judge Sean J. McLaughlin of the Western District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to plaintiff mineral owners in the ongoing litigation over the Forest Service's attempt to impose a moratorium on new drilling permits in the Allegheny National Forest.
Alert: WVDEP Issues Modified Oil and Gas Horizontal Well Rule
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a modified version of 35 CSR, Series 8, the agency's new oil and gas horizontal well legislative rule, with the Secretary of State on September 14, 2012. The modified rule includes a response to comments previously filed by various industry and environmental groups and includes modifications made to the rule in response to those comments.
Alert: Steptoe & Johnson Shale Deals Seminar Begins August 22
Steptoe & Johnson Shale Deals Seminar Begins August 22Two-day event geared toward Marcellus, Utica developersMORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Members of the Steptoe & Johnson PLLC energy team will present a two-day seminar for buyers, sellers and financiers of shale reserves in Appalachia. The Acquisition & Disposition of Shale Assets in Appalachia will be held at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, WV on August 22 and 23, 2012.

Representative Experience

  • Researched statutes and regulations and provided legal analysis and advice concerning oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania
  • Drafted and reviewed mineral title opinions for coal, oil, and gas clients identifying title defects and advising clients on appropriate curative measures
  • Abstracted mineral and leasehold title in numerous counties in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio
  • Performed due diligence analyzing clients' assets for multi-million dollar energy transactions
  • Performed real property title examinations and drafted title opinions to assist clients in determining ownership and leasehold interests of oil and gas, coal and surface estates
  • Performed legal research to advise client on how to best comply with Ohio law when acquiring real property and mineral assets
  • Drafted and negotiated commercial lease agreements, sub-lease agreements, license agreements, deeds, rights of way and easements
  • Analyze surface, royalty, and mineral deeds, oil and gas leases and assignments, probate and estate documents, and other instruments affecting title to real property and advise clients on title defects and curative requirements
  • Perform oil and gas title examinations and draft corresponding title opinions to assist clients in acquiring desired property rights
  • Researched and assisted in creation of plan to merge oil and gas company
  • Drafted motion for summary judgment on issue and perfected appeal of DEP order
  • Drafted preliminary injunction preventing further encumbrance or disposition of disputed lands
  • Conducted legal research and advised client regarding correlative rights between life estate and future interest holders in mineral rights
  • Represented an oil services company in a product liability case related to the loss of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane conditions
  • Advised leading international provider of energy and environment solutions in breach of contract case
  • Experienced in oil and gas litigation including landowner disputes
  • Performed title work and due diligence review for various oil, gas, and coal acquisitions
  • Drafted division order title opinions
  • Assists in the oversight of the firm's division order title opinion team
  • Prepared and reviewed complex division order title opinions for major oil and gas exploration and production companies
  • Conducted title abstracting in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio
  • Prepared and reviewed complex division order title opinions for oil and gas exploration and production companies working in various shale plays
  • Prepared oil, gas, surface and coal title opinions for different energy clients with properties located in various counties within West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio by reviewing title abstracts
  • Performed due diligence projects for mineral acquisitions in Pennsylvania and Ohio by examining title abstracts for title defects along with curative recommendations
  • Performed due diligence and provided assistance related to asset acquisition
  • Managed abstracting and leasing program for light oil play in various counties in Ohio
  • Researched title exceptions, obtained releases of right of way interests from utility companies and resolved trespass issues, as well as other property boundary disputes
  • Drafted and edited oil and gas title opinions, as well as curative documents pertaining to oil and gas drilling
  • Experienced advising both lessors and lessees in negotiation and drafting of coal lease documents
  • Advised coal operator on subsidence rights under common law and Surface Mine Reclamation Act
  • Managed due diligence process for acquisitions
  • Created and managing multi-state (20+) title attorney network to write articles and give presentations on comparative oil and gas law topics
  • Served as expert witness on oil and gas title issues, particularly regarding interpreting wellbore assignments
  • Involved in planning and speaking at national and regional oil and gas seminars
  • Drafted original title opinions and division order title opinions in Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado
  • Drafted transactional documents, including seismic use agreements, pooling agreements, and purchase and sale agreements
  • Drafted drilling title opinions and supplemental opinions relating to Eagle Ford and Haynesville formations
  • Analyzed documents relating to oil and gas property issues including calculation of royalty interests, overriding royalty interests, and title examinations
  • Researched legal issues including environmental issues, subsurface easements, salt dome rights, and leasing provisions
  • Calculated nonparticipating royalty interests, working interests, net revenue interests, and overriding royalty interests
  • Prepared drilling title opinions, including drafting of discussions and requirements, to determine ownership
  • Drafted curative documents, including affidavits of nonproduction, use and possession affidavits, and ratification of leases
  • Performed oil and gas title examinations, rendered title opinions, and advised clients on numerous issues including title defects and curative requirements, lease analysis, and surface mineral and leasehold ownership of state and privately owned lands and roadways
  • Researched official public records detailing ownership of subject lands and engaged in curative work for energy exploration company
  • Assisted clients by reviewing abstracts and preparing drilling and division order title opinions
  • Conducted due diligence for a domestic exploration and production company’s acquisition of oil and gas properties
  • Render surface, oil and gas, and coal title opinions for multiple clients within the Appalachian Basin by reviewing relevant instruments related to surface, mineral, oil and gas and leasehold ownership interests
  • Provided legal analysis related to oil and gas title and property holdings in multiple states within the Appalachian region for energy production companies
  • Analyzed oil and gas documents to evaluate titles for drilling programs in the Appalachian Basin
  • Represented clients in a dispute over family corporation's stock and holdings in land and minerals in western Maryland involving prosecution of civil action seeking declaratory and other relief and involving complex stock redemption, gifting and constructive fraud issues
  • Negotiated a $100 million dollar acquisition of a publicly traded entity
  • Undertook mineral estate and leasehold title examinations
  • Managed large title teams to complete title opinions and due diligence throughout the Appalachian Basin
  • Prepared title and drilling opinions for surface, coal, oil and gas clients
  • Undertook coal, oil, and gas title examinations and drafted the corresponding title opinions to assist a wide variety of clients in acquiring desired property rights
  • Performed due diligence for several multi-million dollar transactions of mineral assets, including coal, coalbed methane, oil and gas, involving title review, litigation and regulatory risk assessment and title defect curative work
  • Assisted in the preparation of and drafted Division Order Title Opinions for production company by performing due diligence and title defect curative work and calculating divisions of interest
  • Represented energy company in the acquisition of several hundred oil and gas wells
  • Advising clients on environmental and other regulatory requirements applicable to their businesses
  • Assisted oil and gas producers to determine ownership interests
  • Responsible for real estate issues in the development and financing of a wind-powered electric generating facility in Grant County, West Virginia. The "wind farm" required leases and easements from more than 40 landowners and financing in excess of $300,000,000.00
  • Represented sellers and buyers in various oil and gas acquisitions, including the corporate sale of one entity worth $3.75 billion
  • Counseled mineral owners and operators about the purchase, sale and development of assets and property used in operations and mineral development
  • Managed operations and provided legal analysis related to oil and gas title and property holdings in West Virginia and central Pennsylvania for the land resources department of a Fortune 500 energy company
  • Performed due diligence, undertook curative work and prepared transactional documents for multi-million dollar energy transactions
  • Performed Appalachian Basin title abstracting of oil, gas and mineral interests and negotiated with landowners to assist clients in building an inventory of leased acreage for the purpose of oil and gas exploration
  • Successfully defended Governor Tomblin in the U.S. Supreme Court in a challenge to the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1008, West Virginia's congressional redistricting legislation
  • Undertook coal, oil and gas title examinations and drafted corresponding title opinions to assist clients in acquiring desired property rights within the Appalachian region
  • Served as in-house counsel for large natural gas transmission company
  • Manages large title and due diligence projects for oil and gas clients
  • Perform complex calculations of ownership and leasehold interests
  • Performed due diligence in evaluating and determining marketability of clients' assets for energy and mineral transactions
  • Assisted clients with the performance and preparation of mineral title opinions, as well as issues related to surface use or surface damages claims arising from coal, oil and gas operations
  • Assisted clients with the performance and preparation of mineral title opinions, as well as issues related to surface use or surface damages claims arising from coal, oil, and gas operations
  • Managed title review and document preparation for energy company acquiring minerals in the Utica and Marcellus shales
  • Drafted and reviewed oil and gas documents such as deeds, leases, rights of way, pooling declarations, joint operating agreements and farm-in agreements
  • Handled matters involving mineral transactions and acquisitions, including the coordination and performance of due diligence and title defect curative work
  • Managed large-scale due diligence project to identify and locate over 1,000 owners of mineral interests
  • Assisted in the preparation of and drafted division order title opinions for oil and gas companies
  • Represented coal companies in dozens of acquisitions of land for mining operations
  • Provided title insurance and closing support services in a large timber sale affecting approximately 22,000 acres
  • Assisted drilling and production companies working to develop the Marcellus shale in surface-use disputes and litigation with surface landowners
  • Undertook coal, oil, and gas title examinations and drafted the corresponding title opinions to assist a wide variety of clients in acquiring desired property rights
  • Reviewed title abstracts and drafted title opinions to assist clients in acquiring and leasing mineral rights
  • Assisted gas production company in the sale of oil and gas properties
  • Managed and coordinated title examinations and numerous additional aspects of due diligence during representation of a mineral client in the large-scale acquisition of approximately 20,000 net acres of mineral interests
  • Managed teams of abstractors in performing mineral and surface title examinations for the purpose of acquiring mineral and leasehold ownership
  • Oversaw transfer of assets for major energy company
  • Significant oil and gas experience as an in-house landman in Appalachia, on and offshore Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, west Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and the Rockies along with limited experience in other domestic areas
  • Consulted with clients regarding title issues and curative requirements to assist in development of horizontal wells
  • Represented a publicly traded entity in the sale of volumetric production payments from future production of gas wells owned by it
  • Represented mid-sized oil and gas operator in administering its drilling programs, including performing title examinations, rendering title opinions, and curing title defects
  • Performed mineral and surface title examinations for the purpose of acquiring and leasing minerals
  • Represented regional and national entities in the purchase and sale of mineral properties including producing coal properties and oil and gas leaseholds and producing wells
  • Performed title examinations and prepared title reports on coal, oil, and gas and other minerals
  • Performed due diligence by assisting senior attorneys in evaluating and determining marketability of client's assets for energy transactions
  • Represented numerous clients in antitrust investigations by the West Virginia Attorney General, including coal companies in statewide investigation of alleged monopoly pricing
  • Counseled oil and gas exploration and production companies in various aspects of their West Virginia operations
  • Prepared and negotiated contracts for production of minerals and related infrastructure
  • Experienced in energy, oil and gas title examinations for energy companies acquiring desired real estate rights
  • Lead DOTO team of attorneys and paraprofessionals responsible for the creation of Division Order Title Opinions for Fortune 500 energy developers
  • Performed title abstracting in several Pennsylvania counties
  • Researched titles of coal, oil and gas clients to determine ownership interests
  • Advised exploration and production companies on various oil and gas law issues, including ownership of oil and gas, leasing, unitization, joint operations, DEP and PUC regulation, and local land use regulation
  • Reviewed extensive title documentation regarding surface and mineral properties and drafted detailed title opinions explaining complex title issues
  • Assisted clients with the preparation of mineral title opinions, as well as issues related to surface use, coal ownership, or surface damages claims arising from coal, oil and gas operations
  • Performed title examinations to determine ownership and leasehold interests of oil & gas, coal and surface estates
  • Assisted energy company in preparation for coalbed methane well projects and advised on title matters as well as permitting and pooling issues
  • Represented international industrial chemical manufacturer in negotiations with national construction firm
  • Lead counsel in several hundred matters before state regulatory agencies
  • Prepared deeds, assignments and other transactional documents for energy clients in connection with various acquisitions and divestitures
  • Represented oil and gas operator in settling class action royalty claims
  • Managed substantial energy project in Ohio
  • Advised energy company in compliance issues with abandoned oil and gas wells
  • Defended a major natural gas producer from claims that its pipeline should be regulated
  • Managed multi-million dollar litigation budget for Fortune 500 coal company
  • Performs title work and due diligence for acquisition of oil, gas and coal
  • Represented midstream operators in major litigation
  • Advise clients on various issues affecting mineral development, including title defects and appropriate curative actions 
  • Researched ownership of title and leasehold interests for surface, coal, oil, gas, and other mineral rights
  • Represented coal company in due diligence portion of a major energy transaction with another company
  • Assisted client with multi-million dollar oil and gas transaction, including performing due diligence and reviewing curative work
  • Conducted and reviewed title examinations and prepared title opinion reports on coal, oil, gas and other minerals
  • Represented coal company in land acquisition for 12-mile overland coal conveyor belt
  • Performed due diligence, undertook curative work and prepared transactional documents for multi-million dollar energy transactions to assist clients in development efforts
  • Performed due diligence and prepared curative documentation
  • Approved titles for well locations for energy company
  • Drafted the form Offshore JOA, farmout, oil and gas lease, and free gas instruments used by various independents over the years
  • Assisted in title due diligence for large-scale asset acquisitions
  • Assisted large energy client in review and examination of oil and gas assets in northern West Virginia
  • Consulted with clients regarding title issues and curative requirements to assist in development of horizontal wells
  • Performed management and document review associated with major title and asset development projects of energy clients
  • Served as real estate counsel for a number of regional interstate natural gas transmission companies and natural gas distribution companies, as well as for an electric generation and distribution company; responsible for right-of-way and site acquisition, facility purchases and sales, facility and storage leasing, relocations, eminent domain proceedings, and protection and enforcement of land rights, including related litigation
  • Performed due diligence and title defect curative work
  • Managed large abstracting teams in multiple states to assist a major energy client in meeting an extensive drilling plan
  • Provided title analysis, title review and legal advice on one of the largest US airports for the exploration and production of shale gas underneath its terminals and runways
  • Represented clients in negotiations and litigation related to surface use or surface damages claims arising from coal, oil and gas operations
  • Developed standardized templates and procedures to expedite accurate title examinations
  • Oversaw oil and gas title projects in Ohio and West Virginia
  • Provided legal analysis related to oil and gas title and property holdings in Pennsylvania for energy production companies
  • Mass tort claims relating to fluid disposal wells and permit discharges
  • Conducted due diligence mineral title examinations for large oil and gas leasehold acquisitions
  • Leads a team that prepares thousands of title opinions per year for major energy companies throughout Appalachia
  • Advised oil and gas clients on various well permitting issues
  • Drafted and reviewed legal documents related to overall operation of energy company's oil and gas holdings
  • Resolved disputes and litigation between landowners and operators
  • Conducted large-scale due diligence mineral title examinations
  • Developed and executed strategies to complete sale of gas operating facilities, gas storage fields, office buildings and fee property for major energy company
  • Undertook oil and gas title examinations, and drafted the corresponding title opinions to assist a wide variety of clients in acquiring desired property rights
  • Experience with joint ventures, swaps, JOAs, and recording of various title and development-related documents for energy clients
  • Drafted, negotiated and advocated for passage of House Bill 401, Governor Tomblin's Horizontal Well Act, which regulates drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale
  • Sought preliminary and permanent injunctions on behalf of major energy company to prevent interference with rights of way and major gas transmissions lines
  • Assisted client with acquisition of multiple coal operations
  • Experience in drafting deeds, leases, assignments, and other documents related to both coal and oil and gas assets
  • Provided due diligence support for a multi-billion dollar coal divestiture in West Virginia by a Fortune 500 energy company
  • Conducting Unitization Hearings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Performed management and document review associated with major title and asset development projects of energy clients
  • Acted as local counsel at a lease signing event which aided a major oil and gas production company in the acquisition of more than 80,000 leasehold acres
  • Approved titles for CO2 wells for major energy company
  • Established and managed the Title Department for a large Appalachian independent oil and gas company and directed and overhauled the staffing and procedures for another
  • Prepared lease schedules and performed reviews of oil and gas leases and title opinions involved in potential acquisitions
  • Assisted senior attorneys in defending oil and gas companies in mineral title and landowner lease dispute litigation in Ohio courts
  • Represented mine operators on pattern of violations issues
  • Negotiated acquisition of pipeline easement
  • Advised client, and successfully enforced client's right of way to use surface estate for ingress/egress for drilling operations
  • Performed title work and headed permit and environmental due diligence review teams for coal acquisition involving over 100,000 acres of reserves, and prepared related reports as well as deeds, leases, assignments and bills of sale used to close the transaction
  • Undertook coal, oil, and gas title examinations and drafted the corresponding title opinions to assist a wide variety of clients in acquiring desired property rights
  • Performed due diligence for transactions of mineral assets, prepared assignments, deeds, and due diligence reports
  • Performed senior review of mineral title opinions
  • Managed large abstracting teams in multiple states to assist major energy clients
  • Managed staff responsible for multi-million dollar transaction with properties in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Virginia
  • Drafted, negotiated and advocated for passage of House Bill 4351, Governor Tomblin's mine safety legislation, which improves mine safety following the Upper Big Branch explosion
  • Perform due diligence to assist clients in acquiring desired assets
  • Represented various natural gas producers in matters involving royalty disputes and mineral rights
  • Advises clients on curative action necessary to clear clouds on title before drilling, leasing, or acquiring acreage
  • Advised oil and gas exploration and production companies on a variety of issues including: title, leasing, oil and gas ownership, and surface use
  • Represented a large energy company in connection with the transfer of its oil, natural gas and coal bed methane assets and reserves located in several states to a subsidiary entity, and assisted the subsidiary in raising invested capital
  • Oversaw the approval of title for several hundred proposed horizontal Appalachian shale wells and a few thousand proposed vertical wells
  • Local counsel responsible for providing guidance on applicable law and analysis of complex title issues as well as lead counsel on asset due diligence for acquisitions, JV and joint development agreements involving over 1 million net mineral acres in the Appalachian Basin
  • Defended multiple gas well fracking damage claims
  • Closed multiple transactions for acquisition of over 200 oil and gas wells in the Appalachian Basin and coordinated and performed due diligence for same
  • Advised energy clients regarding legal issues related to operations
  • Researched and analyzed state law in order to advise clients on existing and potential oil and gas lease issues
  • Handled matters involving mineral transactions and acquisitions, including the coordination and performance of title defect curative work
  • Directed, supervised and assisted in title review, title analysis, business risk analysis, legal analysis, contracts, rights of way, deeds, estate matters, and pooling, for the conventional, coalbed methane and horizontal drilling operations in the Appalachian Basin
  • Advised international company regarding economic incentive opportunities in West Virginia
  • Represented both interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline companies in enforcement actions for stormwater discharge during construction activities
  • Serves as an arbitrator and as a mediator in energy cases
  • Provided guidance in developing major title and asset development projects for upstream E&P companies, managing project timelines, budget and delivery goals
  • Negotiated the disposition of thousands of acres of coal and surface properties owned by a national conservation organization in Ohio and Illinois, and assisted the client organization in converting donated assets into funds for its conservation projects
  • Provided the contract analysis that led to the resolution of a long-standing dispute relative to a major North Slope Alaska oil field which led to its ultimate development
  • Obtained judicial order for client to lease mineral interest of minor pursuant to West Virginia Statute on Lands of Infants
  • Represented mine operators on multiple fatality and serious accident investigations
  • Assisted in representation of natural gas exploration companies in unitization proceedings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Organized educational seminars for a national energy business and trade organization at which over 400 industry employees were trained
  • Represented clients in the acquisition of oil and gas assets
  • Drafted legislation regarding natural gas operations adopted in several in states in the Appalachian Basin
  • Represented a fiber optic cable not-for-profit utility to provide ultra-high speed broadband access to over 50,000 customers
  • Provided policy and implementation guidance for new legislation to clarify notice requirements in connection with development of coalbed methane
  • Counseled lenders to coal mining and natural gas production enterprises, enabling the lenders to better understand the risks involved in financing mining operations, as well as the remedies available to mitigate those risks
  • Loaned from one major to another in an effort to negotiate an industry combine to avoid over $60 million in demobe costs for the CIDS in the Beaufort Sea
  • Founded the Appalachian Super School providing broad based training for land department personnel of a major independent oil and gas company
  • Conducted due diligence and closed multiple acquisitions of oil and gas interests
  • Appointed by Governor Tomblin to a full six-year term as Trustee on the West Virginia Investment Management Board (WVIMB), the entity that oversees the investment of more than $14 billion in state funds, and named Chairman of the WVIMB's Legal Committee by the Governor
  • Assisted non-profit organization in purchasing surface and mineral rights, obtaining zoning and legislation, obtaining environmental permits, advising on construction-related contracts and obtaining licenses and permits required to operate a $350 million youth development project
  • Performed broad range of general corporate legal services, including environmental compliance, litigation, drafting and negotiating contracts, vendor and procurement issues, construction, and real estate
  • Negotiated and drafted purchase and sale agreements and coal leases
  • Developed, implemented and managed a FERC compliance program for interstate natural gas pipelines and public utilities
  • Class action cases on royalty payments
  • Managed project to complete 300+ title opinions for joint operating venture
  • Represented midstream / gathering pipeline companies in assessing their exposure to regulation by state public utility commissions
  • Drafted complex mineral title opinions
  • Represented interstate pipeline in Kentucky condemnation action for Big Sandy Pipeline
  • Researched and analyzed complex federal and state regulatory issues on energy and environmental matters, including federal Clean Water Act permitting issues, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulation of waters (wetlands) of the United States, and state laws regulating the oil and gas industry
  • Prosecuted drilling, mining, quarry, and water permit appeals, and defended subsidence and blasting claims, NOVs and cessation orders
  • Regularly represents and advises major gathering companies on Appalachian eminent domain issues, including Kentucky
  • Class action defense of gas line replacement and burial depth issues
  • Litigated complex real estate and mineral ownership cases to allow clients to achieve development goals
  • $4 million private placement for high technology biometrics company
  • Principal outside counsel for a Fortune 500 energy client and affiliates in the transfer of all oil and gas reserves and coalbed methane reserves owned a newly formed oil and gas production company.
  • Provided training to clients on mine safety issues
  • Represented a natural gas gathering company before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia in a dispute involving an assertion by a natural gas producer that the company's gathering system was subject to regulation as an intrastate pipeline
  • Litigated "missing and unknown owners" case to allow client to lease and produce oil and gas
  • Supreme Court decisions on duty to develop/protect from drainage and scope of mineral leasehold rights
  • Joint Venture Between Coal Companies. Negotiated and developed joint venture agreement and related documents among major coal producers.
  • Coal Transaction Involving Joint Venture, Development of Coal Properties, And Acquisition Of Assets. Coal transaction involving numerous parties, development and negotiation of coal purchase agreement; options for acquisition of particular equipment; joint venture agreement regarding formation of new company among various parties; negotiation and development of dock and transloading agreements; and guidance of client with respect to corporate compliance and securities matters.
  • Represented energy clients in multiple appeals before the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, including a case in which the court held that all co-tenants must be joined as plaintiffs in an attempt to invalidate a lease, and a case in which the court held that a natural gas utility had no duty to plaintiffs to re-inspect an appliance after it was red-tagged

100

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is a U.S. energy firm with core strengths in labor & employment, litigation and transactional law. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson celebrated 100 years of helping clients reach their goals.

 

Did you know?

Face-to-Face Client Interviews

25+ face-to-face client interviews are conducted every year by our CEO and firm management to learn how we can do better (so please give us an earful).

Leaders in our Field

22 of us are ranked as “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USA.

15 Offices Throughout the U.S.

15 offices throughout Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.

Leaders in our Field

Steptoe & Johnson was the first firm to successfully secure regulatory approval for a multi-lateral Utica shale well.

One Firm

Ours is a client-of-the-firm culture, service model and compensation system that matches the best talent to the assignment and puts your economic interest ahead of ours.

10.5 Years

equals the average tenure of our client relationship. We'd like to be in it for the long haul with you too.