Forced Pooling

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Several bills being considered at the statehouse would give gas companies an option when a mineral rights owner refuses to sell. The bill negotiated over several months by the House Energy Committee Chair has stalled in the chamber though.

Tom Huber, Vice President of the West Virginia Royalty Owners Association, discusses the failed bill and the others lawmakers may still put to a vote this session.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's legislative proposals this session focus largely on the budget, it will be legislators who make the final decisions on what gets approved.  And members of both the House and the Senate have some pretty big issues they want brought to the table.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the latest candidate to announce for the Democratic nomination for governor comes from a prominent political family in the state.  Also, we’ll revisit the issue of forced pooling in natural gas drilling.  The issue will be taken up again by the state legislature. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra reports from the school building authority meeting where members voted down funding for new schools in Fayette County.  And energy and environmental reporter Glynis Board updates us on the arguments about forced pooling in natural gas drilling. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

natural gas, fracking
wikimedia

In a dramatic turn of events last year at the statehouse, a bill died on a tie vote during the last night of the 2015 legislative session. The issue was whether companies should be allowed to force mineral owners to sell their gas if the majority of their neighbors have already agreed to sell. Forced pooling. The topic resurfaced during interim meetings last month and is expected to be a priority this legislative session.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports from the State Capitol where lawmakers discussed two contentious issues from the session earlier this year -- forced pooling in natural gas drilling and charter
 schools.

That story on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting -- telling West Virginia's story.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Two bills that both died on the final night of the 2015 legislative session, resurfaced Monday during interim meetings - forced pooling and public charter schools. Both ideas erupted in debate in 2015, but Monday’s discussions were calm and reflective – but not without some concerns.

The separate discussions Monday on forced pooling and charter schools were mostly on how to make these controversial pieces of legislation work for lawmakers and interested parties on both sides of the issues.

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports from Harpers Ferry where business owners are working to recover from a devastating fire that destroyed four buildings in the historic town in July.  And Beth Vorhees talks with Trey Kay, the host of our podcast “Us & Them.”  The latest episode is about the debate over “new math” in the 1960’s and 70’s.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Eminent domain is when a government entity takes over private property for public use. A piece of legislation is forming that would essentially allow that to happen in the northern gas fields of West Virginia. Only the government entity is allowing private industry to take over property, which is in gas form, 6,000 feet below the surface. And it won’t benefit the public directly, unless you count severance taxes.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

The West Virginia Royalty Owner’s Association will begin a round of public meetings across the state next week to talk about a piece of controversial legislation.

The meetings held across West Virginia will focus on forced pooling or lease unitization. It’s a practice in the natural gas industry where gas companies parcel of groups of land in an attempt to drill a well.

Under current state law, if a royalty owner refuses to sell their rights to the company, it can’t drill the gas well, but lawmakers attempted to change that during the last legislative session. 

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a session that lasted almost until midnight Tuesday night, members of the House got an early start Wednesday morning to pass a flurry of bills. Here's a look at three of those bills, but first a look at a proposed constitutional amendment that passed protecting homeowners from creditors after the passing of a spouse.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As lawmakers return to town this week for their final interim session of 2014, they'll learn more about a practice in the natural gas industry companies want them to approve through legislation: forced pooling.

Kevin Ellis, president of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, explained to lawmakers during a November meeting, when companies prepare to drill a well they create a giant rectangle of land parcels and then negotiate with each mineral owner within that rectangle for their gas rights.

By pooling these owners together, companies can drill a well and then pay out mineral owners proportionally by land acreage for the gas produced.