Mineral Title & Energy Real Estate

A part of the energy team, our Mineral Title and Energy Real Estate attorneys have a sophisticated and detailed understanding of the legal aspects of exploring for, producing and transporting, natural gas, oil, coal and coalbed methane throughout Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. Our flexible production model allows our mineral law and energy real estate lawyers, paraprofessionals, abstractors, title analysts and landmen to effectively service the needs of energy developers, public utilities, midstream transmission services and commercial lenders in a wide range of mineral title and energy industry real estate transactions.

114 Team Members

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Member, Chair, Energy & Natural Resources Department
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Know How

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: 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. 
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: July 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Mineral Title Litigation & Litigation Trends in the Utica and Marcellus Shales
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.July 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast 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: 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: 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: 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

Representative Experience

  • Draft deeds, bills of sale, assignments and rights-of-way
  • Has conducted receivership proceedings allowing for the leasing, drilling and production of land, title to which was in unknown heirs or successors of undiscoverable person(s)
  • Regularly provides advice and assistance with respect to surface use and operations
  • Conducted original and supplemental title examinations to thousands of tracts of land, allowing clients to identify in advance issues affecting the ability to drill and produce from certain tracts, and provided assistance in the curing of those defects, allowing drilling to take place
  • Managed and coordinated efforts of a team of attorneys conducting due diligence in conjunction with a number of acquisitions, most recently one involving over 100,000 gross acres and 200 producing units, delivering completion ahead of deadline and under budget; maintain regular and informative communication with client to ensure against misunderstanding and last-minute surprise
  • Represented Fortune 500 company in the acquisition of natural gas wells, working interests and operating rights throughout the Appalachian Basin
  • Represented Fortune 500 company in realigning its mineral ownership in conjunction with a pre-divestiture restructuring
  • Performed due diligence review for the acquisition of oil and gas leases in a multi-million dollar transaction
  • Conducted coal, oil and gas title examinations and prepared the corresponding title opinions for properties in the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio regions
  • Researched official public records detailing ownership of subject lands and engaged in curative work for energy exploration companies
  • Conducted mineral title examinations and drafted corresponding title opinions regarding ownership of oil and gas interests
  • Represented E&P companies and institutional investors in the acquisition, divestiture, leasing, farmout, exploration and development of oil and gas, minerals, and land positions valued in the hundreds of millions

  • Performed title work and due diligence review for acquisition of mineral reserves

  • Assisted clients in major energy transactions including review of title opinions, organizing defect and curative reports, drafting letters of intent, purchase and sale agreements and preparing closing documents for various transactions

  • Led due diligence teams responsible for issuing mineral title opinions for both held by production and newly leased acreage totaling over 40,000 acres in OH and PA

  • Researched surface and mineral ownership in various counties

  • Analyzed and interpreted deeds, leases and other title instruments conveying surface, mineral and leasehold interests and drafted title opinions

  • Performed review of title opinions

  • Drafted title opinions certifying title for oil and gas development

  • Advised clients on legal issues affecting land acquisitions 

  • Experienced in preparing and reviewing leases, deeds, easements and related documents

  • Assisted in management of title projects, performed due diligence, undertook curative work, and conducted closings in multi-million dollar energy transactions to assist clients in mineral development efforts

  • Represented oil and gas company in divestitures of drilling subsidiary and 3D seismic subsidiary, valued at $30 million in total

  • Responsible for oil and gas title work and landowner negotiations for drilling hundreds of wells over 36 years in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio

  • Represented energy company in regulatory matters before the Montana Board of Oil & Gas Conservation for their Montana drilling operations

  • Drafted numerous purchase and sale agreements for the sale of oil and gas assets in the Jonah Field in Wyoming; various counties in Ohio; and properties in Garfield and Los Animas Counties in Colorado

  • Performed due diligence reviews of title to oil and gas assets in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas, Wyoming and California

  • Assisted in preparation of title opinions for various clients in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana

  • Prepared and reviewed title opinions for coal, oil and gas clients in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia

  • Performed mineral and surface title examinations for the purpose of acquiring and leasing minerals

  • Handled matters involving mineral transactions and acquisitions, including the performance of due diligence and title defect curative work

  • Managed team of abstractors in performing mineral and surface title examinations for the purpose of acquiring mineral and leasehold ownership

  • 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

  • Conducted coal, oil and gas title exminations and drafted corresponding title opinions to assist energy clients

  • Performed coal, oil, and gas title examinations and drafted corresponding title opinions to assist a wide variety of clients in acquiring desired property rights

  • Performed due diligence and document review associated with major title and asset development projects of energy clients

  • Assisted with a variety of projects including commercial transactions, labor and employment matters, and general litigation support as in-house counsel for regional retail corporation

  • Conducted oil, gas, coal and mineral title examinations in the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio regions

  • Prepared and reviewed title opinions for oil and gas clients in the Appalachian Region

  • Drafted and negotiated domestic acquisition, divestiture, leasing, farmout, exploration and development, and joint venture agreements relating to oil and gas development, minerals, and land positions valued in the hundreds of millions

  • Experienced in leading large title projects

  • Coordinated drilling program with geology, engineering, and construction departments for exploration and development company

  • Reviewed leases, assignments, farmouts, and other transactional documents to determine their impact on leasehold rights

  • Designed and implemented changes to curative process for title group in response to development of horizontal drilling

  • Directed curative action necessary to clear clouds on title before drilling, leasing, or acquiring acreage

  • Directed outside counsel, reviewed outside counsel's work, and made informed decisions based upon advice of outside counsel and business considerations

  • Led title curative group within the land department of an exploration and development company that cleared title to hundreds of horizontal wells each year 

  • Defended oil and gas companies in mineral title and landowner lease dispute litigation in Ohio state and federal courts

  • Managed multiple title projects in the Appalachian Basin

  • Conducted extensive mineral title examination and performed due diligence for multi-million dollar acquisition

  • Assisted clients with preparation of mineral title opinions, including advising clients on title defects and curative requirements

  • Assisted clients with the mineral title examinations and preparation of mineral title opinions

  • Performed due diligence for transactions of mineral assets, including coal, oil and gas involving title review and title defect curative work

  • Train firm attorneys to write Appalachian-style title opinions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

  • Develop and implement tools to evaluate and improve work product of abstractors, paralegals, and associates to promote consistency and improve efficiency

  • Provide title expertise to litigators on issues associated with filing missing heirs petitions, partition actions, and quiet title actions

  • Advise clients on various issues affecting mineral development, including title defects and appropriate curative actions

  • Review and render oil and gas, surface, and coal title opinions, including complex calculations of ownership and leasehold interests

  • Calculated non-participating royalty interests, working interests, net revenue interests, and overriding royalty interests for numerous leased parcels of land in the Utica shale

  • Drafted original, drilling, acquisition, and supplemental title opinions to assist in the exploration of oil and gas properties in the Utica shale

  • Analyzed title runsheets and accompanying instruments from sovereignty forward to advise clients of clouds on title, offer curative advice, and verify that all mineral owners had been leased properly

  • Performed stand-up and due diligence analysis and provided curative measures on mineral title

  • Examined mineral ownership and drafted title opinions on tracts of land located throughout Texas and Ohio

  • Handled matters involving mineral acquisitions and divestitures, including coordination and performance of due diligence and title defect curative work

  • Advised clients regarding various complicated title issues and drafted title opinions

  • Analyzed title run sheets, deeds, contracts, deeds of trust, assignments, leases and probate, divorce and guardianship to verify that all current mineral owners have been leased properly

  • Drafted original drilling title opinions, division order title opinions, lease acquisition title opinions and supplemental title opinions identifying problems in the chain of title and explaining steps to solve said problems

  • Participated in representation of clients in the acquisition and condemation of rights of way

  • Performed independent research and prepared analysis of various state laws with respect to escheat for one of the major oil and gas companies

  • Performed due diligence for the acquisition of mineral assets by various clients

  • Rendered title opinions of all types for large and small operators covering both rural and urban lands in Texas

  • Experienced in preparing leases, deeds, easements and other related agreements

  • Handled matters involving mineral transactions and acquisitions, including the coordination and performance of due diligence and title defect curative work

  • Assisted clients with performance of mineral title examinations and preparation of mineral title opinions

  • Draft and render oil and gas title opinions and division order title opinions of the most complex nature

  • Review and interpret various types of surface, royalty and mineral deeds, oil and gas leases, oil and gas lease assignments, joint operating agreements, probate and estate planning documents and various other instruments affecting records title to real property

  • Handled acquisitions and divestitures of minerals and commercial real estate

  • Negotiated and prepared oil and gas leases

  • Advised clients as to the business risks associated with certain title defects

  • Coordinated teams of attorneys and paraprofessionals for various mineral projects in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio

  • Drafted curative documents pertaining to oil and gas title defects

  • Conducted title examinations, drafted and reviewed title opinions

  • Analyzed surface, royalty, and mineral deeds, oil and gas leases and assignments, deeds of trust, probate and estate planning documents, and other instruments affecting title to real property 

  • Performed title work for coal operator in advance of mining

  • Performed title work and due diligence review for acquisition of coal reserves

  • Performed title examinations and rendered title opinions with respect to coal ownership in connection with acquisition and development of coal reserves

  • Performed due diligence by assisting in evaluating and determining marketability of client's assets for energy transactions

  • Prepared and reviewed title examinations and drafted title opinions

  • Conducted and prepared full title abstracts on coal, oil, gas and other minerals in various counties of West Virginia and Ohio

  • Provided landman services for oil and gas exploration and production companies in leasing programs for Marcellus and Utica plays in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania

  • Conducted oil, gas, coal, surface, and other mineral rights title examinations for energy companies in various counties within Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to create a full title abstract which included a review of deeds, estate records, leases, taxes, tax maps, liens and judgments against property, right of ways and easements, and flowcharts of the ownership interests

  • Performed title abstracting in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

  • 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 title abstracting in Pennsylvania and West Virginia

  • Prepared and reviewed drilling title opinions for oil and gas clients

  • Assisted clients with the performance and preparation of oil, gas, coal, and mineral title opinions

  • Performed mineral title examinations and prepared drilling title opinions for clients in the Appalachian Basin

  • Assisted clients with mineral transactions, acquisitions, and divestitures, including the coordination and performance of due diligence and title defect curative work

  • Experienced in preparation of title opinions related to oil, gas, coal and other mineral interests for properties located throughout the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions

  • Represented Fortune 500 energy client before regulatory agencies and provided key guidance in developing process to establish pooling units for largest active coalbed methane production program in state

  • Coordinate with other attorneys and staff to develop and improve internal workflow processes and communication

  • Researched ownership of title and leasehold interests for surface, coal, oil, gas and other mineral rights
  • Assisted multiple clients with the review and analysis of title abstracts involving both coal and oil and gas mineral properties, including the preparation of numerous title opinions identifying the legal risks of mining or developing these properties, and recommended cures and mitigation strategies regarding title defects and irregularities

  • Represented coal companies in multiple land and mineral acquisitions for mining operations

  • Assisted energy clients in oil and gas acquisitions, financing and disposition transactions

  • Managed oil and gas title examination projects and performed senior review of oil and gas title opinions

  • Led teams responsible for numerous asset and stock transactions, lease transactions, and land and legal due diligence for acquisitions as lead or local counsel involving over 4,000,000 gross acres

  • Drafted mineral title opinions

  • Assisted with mineral due diligence projects

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?

Leaders in our Field

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

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.

14 Offices Throughout the U.S.

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

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.

Leaders in our Field

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

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).