Oil & Gas Survey: West Virginia (2019)
11 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019 Last revised: 2 Sep 2021
Date Written: April 1, 2019
This Article summarizes and discusses important recent developments in West Virginia’s oil and gas law, including legislative action and case law. This Article is divided into three Sections. First, West Virginia’s evolution in its approach to fractional mineral owner disputes in the Marcellus Shale. After multiple efforts to pass a forced pooling bill, the state settled instead on a cotenancy solution. Second, West Virginia addressed flat-rate royalties, following two court cases, a legislative response, and a subsequent court challenge to the legislation. Finally, this Article discusses three developments in lease interpretation: (1) what will be deemed “reasonably necessary” for oil and gas development in West Virginia; (2) if implied pooling rights are included in West Virginia leases that are silent on the matter; and (3) whether non-executory and non-participating royalty owners have rights to approve pooling.
Keywords: oil, gas, natural gas, shale, Marcellus, hydraulic fracturing, fracking, mineral rights, royalty, property, pooling
JEL Classification: Q4, Q40, Q41, Q48, Q13, Q21, Q28, Q3, Q31, Q31, Q33, Q38
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