Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vision Shared Issues Report On Value Added Opportunities For Natural Gas

Vision Shared West Virginia has published a new report that highlights West Virginia's potential for realizing the benefit of shale resources as well as certain policies currently in place in West Virginia that promote the State as an ideal environment for long term industry development. The 45-page report, titled "Value Added Opportunities For Natural Gas," notes that:

"Production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has lowered the price of natural gas for millions of consumers and greatly increased demand for the commodity. The availability of this resource is transforming markets and will continue to do so. Natural gas is not only a basic commodity. It is also a foundation of numerous value-added products upon which market clusters and economic activity are built. If West Virginia and the broader region, that also includes the similarly extensive Utica Shale, are able to grow regional supply of these value-added products more of the economic benefits of the resource can be retained in the region."

Among the discussion points in the report are how natural gas vehicles are being used in other states, benefits to manufacturers in West Virginia, and the long-term outlook for natural gas supply and pricing. Click to read the report.

Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center Established At Fairmont State University

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by Community and Technical College System of West Virginia Chancellor Jim Skidmore, announced yesterday the establishment of the Appalachian Petroleum Technology Training Center in Fairmont. The Center will address the growing workforce needs of the oil and gas industry within the State and provide training opportunities for individuals who are interested in working in the field. "This new Center, and its hands-on curriculum, will better prepare West Virginians for the highly-skilled, good-paying jobs needed to meet the demand of our growing oil and gas industry," Gov. Tomblin said. "I'm thankful for the industry's collaboration during the development of this much-needed program and look forward to congratulating the first class of graduates."  Click to read more.

Monday, May 13, 2013

U.S. Fourth Circuit Upholds Viability Of Flat Rate Leases

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued an important decision upholding viability of flat rate leases in face of challenges that the lack of production terminated the lease.  Here is a synopsis of the ruling:

In Wellman v. Bobcat Oil & Gas, Inc., Docket No. 12-1533, an unpublished per curiam opinion, the Fourth Circuit recently addressed the issue of whether lack of production and a missed or late payment could invalidate a flat-rate lease.  The Court held that under longstanding West Virginia law, “the quantity of production is irrelevant to the expiration of the secondary term” of a flat-rate mineral lease.  In addition the Court held that the lessors’ claims that missed or late rental payments resulted in a forfeiture of the lease failed on the basis of ratification and the principles of equity.   The Court specifically stated that absent a clear and unequivocal stipulation in the lease that a failure to pay will result in forfeiture, missed or late payments are insufficient to justify cancelling or forfeiting the lease. 

Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC has been involved in representing other lessees in similar claims by lessors.  We will continue to keep you apprised of these legal matters.