WVSORO Blog

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Comments submitted on Department of the Interior guidance for first $25 Million to plug orphaned wells
Blog WVSORO April 1, 2022
WVSORO commented on the Department of the Interior's draft guidance for the first $25 Million coming to West Virginia to plug orphaned wells pursuant to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021.  More
Issues: Abandoned wellsOrphaned wells
SB 694 passed by the 2022 Legislature authorizing forced unitization of mineral tracts is OK because it is good for surface owners, and OK for mineral owners
BlogLeasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO March 14, 2022
Forced unitization bills, often termed "forced pooling" bills, have been very controversial for years.  WVSORO has always said a good forced pooling bill would be a good thing because it lessens the number of wells and well pads needed to produce natural gas for whatever market there is for natural gas.  It is just that in prior years we have never seen a good bill, just one that favors industry over surface owners and those of our members who also own some minerals.  This year's bill, SB 694, is not quite a "good" bill, but because of all the good surface protections it contains, and because it is OK to most mineral owners, and because the industry dominates the Legislature and could do so even more after the next election, WVSORO thinks this bill is OK and told the Legislature so.  More
Issues: Pooling
Scientists say lots of unplugged (and plugged) oil and gas wells are leaking lots of methane in West Virginia
Blog WVSORO October 20, 2021
A study by scientists of 338 conventional vertical wells in thirteen counties in West Virginia found that 53% of active wells, 28% of unplugged inactive wells, and even 20% of plugged wells were leaking significant methane into the atmosphere -- wasting gas, aiding global warning, and gypping mineral owners. Clearly the State needs LOTS more inspectors than the current 1 for every 7000 wells. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsPollution
2021 legislative priorities
Blog WVSORO January 26, 2021
Restoring and increasing funding to the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas will be our lead priority this year.  But we will still be pushing legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with thousands and thousands of orphaned wells and other environmental problems. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsLand re-unionLegislationPipelines
Cotenancy/Forced Pooling By OGCC can be challenged
BlogLeasing / Amendment Advice Kayla Young June 25, 2020
WVSORO believes that two of the five members of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are not qualified to hold their positions. More
Issues: LeasingOil and Gas
WV-SORO 2020 Legislative Priorities
Blog WVSORO December 1, 2019
Legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems, continue to be WV-SORO's legislative priorities for 2020.  We will also be active opposing legislation the industry introduces (out of its sense of entitlement) which will harm the interests of surface owners (including some fortunate few of whom are also small mineral interest owners). More
Issues: Abandoned wellsEminent domainFence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsLand re-unionOrphaned wellsPipelines
Information on the Marcellus Shale
Blog WVSORO August 4, 2019
Numerous links to resources for information on the Marcellus Shale More
Issues: LeasingMarcellus shaleOil and Gas
Why Multiple Horizontal Wells from centralized well pads should be used for the Marcellus Shale
AdviceBlogLeasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO July 8, 2019
The Marcellus Shale is the newest “play” in gas drilling in West Virginia and other states in the East. It is different from other plays in that it produces much more gas, and is under much more area (as explained below) than previous plays. More
Issues: Horizontal wellsLeasingMarcellus shale
Report: WV Shale Development Falls Short of Economic Promise
Blog WVSORO February 7, 2019
A new report from the WV Center on Budget and Policy has found that the nearly six-fold increase in West Virginia’s natural gas production in the last decade, due largely to shale development, or fracking, has fallen short of expectations for economic growth, job creation, and tax revenue generation.  More
Issues: FrackingHorizontal wellsMarcellus shale
WV SORO Presentation to the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission on Co-Tenancy Rule-making
Blog WVSORO May 9, 2018
The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission asked stakeholders to make presentations on what emergency or legislative rule-making was needed related to the 2018 co-tenancy bill passed by the WV Legislature. WV SORO made a presentation not only on what emergency and legislative rule-making was required to carry out the surface owner and small mineral interest owner protections in the bill, but emphasizing that the Commission had broader duties and powers to “carry out, administer, and enforce . . . and make . . . investigation” regarding the new statute. More
Issues: Horizontal wellsPooling
WV-SORO 2017 Legislative Priorities
Blog Julie Archer February 8, 2017
WV-SORO will again be pushing for legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized and respected, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems. We will also be actively opposing legislation the industry introduces (out of its sense of entitlement) that will harm the interests of surface owners. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsFence-line monitoringLand re-unionOrphaned wellsPollution
In Court: WV-SORO Litigation Update
Blog Julie Archer February 7, 2017
Here is a brief update on some court cases we've been involved in or monitoring that affect West Virginia surface owners. Because one-third of WV-SORO members also own an interest in their underlying minerals, so we are including updates on cases that affect some mineral owners. More
Issues: Coal bed methaneEminent domainLeasingMinerals-RoyaltiesPartition suitsPipelines
Zombie Bills? Bad Bills to Aid Drillers Could Be Back in 2017
Blog Julie Archer February 6, 2017
Several bad bills that help oil and gas drillers at the expense of West Virginia landowners could be back during the 2017 legislative session. These include efforts to take away citizens ability to bring nuisance suits, give pipeline companies the right to survey people's land without their permission, and one-sided forced pooling bills (AKA joint development). More
Issues: Eminent domainNuisance suitsPipelinesPooling
West Virginia Supreme Court cites WVSORO “amicus brief” regarding ownership of coalbed methane
Blog WVSORO December 16, 2016
The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in the Moss case in 2003 that leases and deeds that granted or reserved rights to “oil and gas” or “natural gas” did not automatically give or reserve rights to coalbed methane More
Issues: Coal bed methane
WVSORO 2017 Legislative Proposals
Blog WVSORO December 11, 2016
WVSORO will again be pushing for legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems, etc. More
Issues: Fence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsLand re-unionLegislationOrphaned wellsTax sales
The West Virginia Land Reunion Song
Blog WVSORO December 9, 2016
In the early 1980's a surge of conventional well drilling occurred in West Virginia in reaction to first the Arab Oil Embargo and then the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The surge in drilling resulted in gross abuses of surface owners. More
Issues: Land re-unionLegislationNuisance suits
Dave McMahon: West Virgina must get it right with gas
BlogNews WVSORO July 8, 2016
I write in response to “Conservation makes for good business,” an op-ed column by a top official of Antero, a natural gas company, published May 28. More
Issues: DEPHorizontal wellsMarcellus shaleOil and Gas
Who is Helped and Who is Hurt by a GOOD Forced Pooling Bill
Blog WVSORO January 12, 2016
Who does a good forced pooling statute hurt or help? More
Issues: LegislationPooling
What Has to Be in a Forced Pooling Bill for it to Be a GOOD Forced Pooling Bill
BlogDocument WVSORO January 12, 2016
A forced horizontal unitization/pooling/integration bill is only a good idea if: More
Issues: LegislationPooling
What Is in the “Horizontal Well Act Studies Implementation Bill” Surface Owners Need Before a Pooling Bill Should Pass
Blog WVSORO January 12, 2016
Provisions of Proposed Bill Implementing Findings of Studies Required By the Horizontal Well Act More
Issues: Horizontal wellsLegislation
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