Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wall Street Journal Aims To Separate Truth From Fiction Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing

The Wall Street Journal has published an article in an effort "to separate truth from fiction in the main allegations against the shale revolution" - hydraulic fracturing. The article also notes that the industry "will have to take great drilling care while better making its public case. In this age of saturation media, a single serious example of water contamination could lead to a political panic that would jeopardize tens of billions of dollars of investment. The industry needs to establish best practices and blow the whistle on drillers that dodge the rules."

Click to read the entire article.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Morgantown's City Council Follows Through To Ban Horizontal Drilling, Fracturing; Lawsuits Planned

Morgantown's City Council voted 6-1 to ban horizontal drilling within city limits or one mile around city. The controversial action has been denounced by the state's natural gas industry. Mineral owners and producers indicate they will seek legal action against the city.

Click to read article:
"City Marcellus Drilling Ban Officially In Place"

"Gas Company Hires Lawyer To Sue Morgantown Over Ban"

DEP Laying Out Parameters Of Revised Marcellus Regulatory, Permit Fee Bill

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is reworking its Marcellus regulatory bill in advance of expected legislative action. The agency is redrafting a legislative proposal it developed as part of the 2011 regular legislative session. That proposal did not get enacted. Unlike the first proposal developed by DEP, this new version will mainly on environmental regulations…and not include provisions such as statutory pooling, which is desired by many large Marcellus producers. Provisions related to surface owner rights also will be left out of this new version, according to the DEP’s spokesperson. DEP’s Secretary Randy Huffman says he will be seeking higher permit fees in order to finance the higher of 8-10 additional oil/natural gas inspectors.

Click to read related articles:

The Associated Press

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

House Speaker Names Members To Joint Legislative Marcellus Study Group

House Speaker Rick Thompson has appointed five members of the W.Va. House of Delegates to serve on the Legislature’s Select Committee on Marcellus Shale. Thompson designated Delegate Tim Manchin, D-Marion, as the chairman. Other members of the committee will include: Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia; Delegate Tom Campbell, D-Greenbrier; Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie; and Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood.

The state Senate's members were named June 18.

The joint Senate-House working group will seek to develop consensus legislation on regulations and permit fees for Marcellus Shale drilling and production.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Morgantown's Proposed Law To Ban Natural Gas Drilling, Fracturing Is An Assault Against Private Property Rights

Morgantown City Council's plan to ban natural gas drilling within its city limits is an "assault on West Virginia's private property rights." That is the view of Mark Sadd, one of the preeminent land use and zoning attorneys in West Virginia and a member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins' natural gas practice. Sadd wrote an op-ed column that was published in the June 19 edition of The Dominion Post. His op-ed was prepared in response to the city council's proposed ordinance against natural gas drilling and fracturing. Council is scheduled to vote on that ordinance this evening, June 21.

Click to read Sadd's op-ed column.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

State Senators Named For Marcellus Legislative Study Group

Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler has named the five state Senate members to the special Marcellus legislative study group, which was named this week. The Senate members are:

Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio
Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton
Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha
Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson
Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson

The House of Delegates will name five members.

Senator Kessler said he anticipates the committee working quickly to develop a consensus bill regarding Marcellus regulations and drilling fees.

Click to read articles:

The Register-Herald

Wheeling Intelligencer/New Register

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Legislators Hear Proposal To Hike Severance Taxes, Create Permanent Fund

A liberal think tank in West Virginia is proposing that state lawmakers should increase severance taxes by $100 million year. The proposal, which was put forth to lawmakers during an interim committee meeting this week, was advanced by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. The center is calling for a 1 percentage point increase in the state’s severance tax on the extraction and production of coal, oil and natural gas. That would raise $100 million in its first year, and the money would be directed into a "Severance Tax Permanent Fund". The group projected that this fund could grow over 25 years to become several billions of dollars, may be used to pay off the state’s long-term pension debt obligations.

Click to read more.

Governor Tomblin: Hoping For Agreement On Marcellus Regulatory Bill

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is quoted in today's The Register-Herald as saying he hopes a compromise on Marcellus regulations could be completed in the coming weeks. It was announced this week that the Legislature is forming a special legislative study group to focus on the issue of Marcellus regulations. If the group comes to consensus, Tomblin reiterated his stand that he would be add an "agreed to" Marcellus proposal as part of the agenda of a planned special session this summer.

According to the newspaper's June 16 edition:

“We’re hoping to be able to get the two sides together to talk about the rules and regulations of Marcellus drilling,” Tomblin said. “I’m hoping they can come to some sort of agreement in the next few weeks here.”

Tomblin plans to huddle with Thompson and Kessler again in July to gauge the task force’s progress.

“If they’re close enough where we feel we can get in, get the bill passed and get out, then I’ll consider putting it on at that time,” the governor said.

Click to read the entire article.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special Legislative Group To Study Marcellus Issues

A special legislative group will be formed to study issues related to Marcellus drilling. The decision to form the group was made by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance. The study group will comprise five members of the W.Va. House of Delegates and five members of the W.Va. Senate. Appointment of members to be made by Speaker and Acting Senate President. Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins, and its GR affiliate -- LGCR Government Solutions, will provide additional details as they become available.

Click to read article by the Associated Press.

Upcoming Oil And Natural Gas Events In West Virginia

Provided is a list of upcoming oil and natural gas events in West Virginia:

WVONGA Spring Meeting
May 4-5, 2011
Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV

4th Annual West Virginia Oil & Gas Equipment Show
July 13-14, 2011
West Virginia Wesleyan College Campus
Buckhannon, WV

IOGAWV Summer Meeting
August 7-9, 2011 -
The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, WV

WVONGA Annual Meeting
September 28-29, 2011
Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV

West Virginia Oil & Gas Expo
October 5, 2011, Morgantown

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marcellus Issues Continue To Receive Media Coverage In West Virginia

Issues involving Marcellus Shale drilling and production continue to receive media attention in West Virginia. Provided are recent articles:

"Wood County legislators discuss views about a possible special session on Marcellus issues"
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, June 13, 2011 - click to read

Commentary by Tom Miller: "If state won't step up on shale, W.Va. counties must"
The Herald Dispatch, June 11, 2011 - click to read

"DEP Evolving With Regard to Marcellus Permitting"
The State Journal, June 11, 2011 - click to read

"Morgantown, Mon County at odds over gas well issue"
Associated Press, June 9, 2011 - click to read

"Westover Looks to Regulate Marcellus Shale Drilling"
The State Journal, June 9, 2011 - click to read

"Morgantown advancing ordinance to ban horizontal drilling"
Associated Press, June 8, 2011 - click to read

Monday, June 6, 2011

Shell Chemicals Announces Plans For An Ethylene Cracker In The Northeast U.S.

Shell Chemicals announced today that it is developing plans to build a world-scale ethylene cracker with integrated derivative units in the Marcellus Shale region in the Northeast. The company joins Dow and Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) in the race to build the next cracker in the U.S., but Shell is the first company to specifically target the Northeast.

“Building an ethane-fed cracker in Appalachia would unlock significant gas production in the Marcellus region by providing a local outlet for the ethane,” said Ben van Beurden, Shell Executive Vice President Chemicals. “This fits well with our strategy to strengthen our chemicals feedstock advantage and would be another step in growing our chemicals business to meet the increasing demand for petrochemicals.”

Click to read the company's press release.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lewis Glasser Attorneys To Provide Presentations On Key Natural Gas Issues

Attorneys with Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC will be providing presentations at upcoming events on issues of importance to the natural gas industry.

First, Richard L. Gottlieb will be addressing be addressing the 2011 Annual Meeting of the AAPL (American Association of Professional Landmen), which will be held June 8-11 in Boston, Massachusetts. His presentation on the afternoon of June 10 will cover natural gas land and leasing issues. Gottlieb will be part of a panel discussion entitled “Comparative Oil and Gas Law Review in Appalachia: What the Law Ought To Be.” Gottlieb will be joined by other attorneys from Pennsylvania and New York. This annual meeting attracts oil and natural gas landmen from across the United States.

Gottlieb is a Member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC, which is based in Charleston, W.Va. He is the leader of the firm’s natural gas practice. Gottlieb has been a natural gas lawyer for 30 years concentrating on acquisitions of natural gas rights, regulatory issues and complex commercial litigation. In addition to being a frequent lecturer on natural gas law and publishing a variety of articles on natural gas topics, Gottlieb provided the West Virginia law provisions for the AAPL’s comparison of state laws on natural gas leasing, exploration and production. Gottlieb also is listed in Best Lawyers in America for natural gas law and in West Virginia SuperLawyers for commercial litigation.

Second, Mark A. Sadd and David B. McMahon will be presenting different legal perspectives on surface owner issues for a West Virginia Continuing Legal Education seminar, “Marcellus Shale in West Virginia” in Charleston on June 10, 2011. Sadd, a member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC, lead’s the firm’s real property practice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WVU Professors See Benefits From Proper Marcellus Drilling, Extraction

Two professors at West Virginia University have gone on the record as saying that if Marcellus drilling and extraction is done right, it can be safe and good for the state. Both, however, indicated concerns about current regulations. That is according to an article in the May 31, 2011 edition of The Dominion Post. The professors are: Dr. Tim Carr, the Marshall S. Miller professor of energy in the Eberly College geology and geography department, and Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, who directs WVU’s Water Research Institute.

Clear to read the entire article.