MINERAL SEVERANCES IN WEST VIRGINIA: WAYS TO ACHIEVE 100% LEASED STATUS
This Panel will present an overview and discussion of two mechanisms available under West Virginia law to achieve "100% leased” status in situations where unknown, missing, abandoning, or uncooperative mineral owners would otherwise impede mineral development. The Unknown Mineral Owner Act provides a method, under the Court’s watchful eye, to lease the mineral interests of unknown, abandoning or missing mineral owners when the heirs or beneficiaries can’t be located. Another legal mechanism that is being used more and more is the partition action. Together, these legal mechanisms provide co-parceners, oil and gas companies, and heirs of unknown, missing, or abandoning owners the ability to develop their mineral assets more so than ever before, while maintaining fairness to the unknown, abandoning or missing owners.
Honorable David W. Hummel, Jr.
Chief Judge- Second Judicial Circuit
Briana J. Marino, Esquire
Babst Calland, Attorneys at Law – Charleston, WV
Timothy Linkous, Esquire
Shuman, McCuskey & Slicer, PLLC – Morgantown, WV
CUTTING THROUGH PROSSER’S IMPENETRABLE JUNGLE: UPDATE ON THE TORT OF NUISANCE IN THE SHALE GAS PLAYS
Nuisance claims are getting more attention because of a large verdict against a natural gas operator in Texas last year. This presentation examines the law of nuisance and the types of claims that may be asserted against hydraulic fracturing operations under this vague tort. Special consideration will be given to defenses and the law of damages, with an evaluation of how the recent West Virginia decision modifying the law of residential real property damages may impact nuisance claims.
Albert F. Sebok, Esquire
Jackson Kelly, PLLC - Charleston, WV
STATE AND LOCAL TAX BURDEN ON THE EXTRACTION OF OIL AND GAS
This presentation will provide an overview of the WV Severance Tax and Sales and Use Tax, with a primary focus on the responsible party for payment of the tax, and the identification of exemptions that are applicable, including proper application of the "directly used" exemption. Recent and/or proposed administrative decisions, regulations and legislation in WV, PA and OH that may impact the oil and gas industry will be reviewed. This would include Pennsylvania's proposed imposition of severance tax and Ohio's proposed modification of its severance tax.
Floyd "Kin” Sayre, III, Esquire
Bowles Rice LLP - Martinsburg, WV
BANKRUPTCY AND ITS IMPACT UPON OIL AND GAS CONTRACTS AND DUTIES
Downturn in oil prices may increase the number of oil and gas companies who will file for bankruptcy relief. Due to that possibility, it is important to know the risks and opportunities that may present themselves when an oil and gas company seeks bankruptcy protection, including lease agreements being rejected, or assets sold free and clear of liens.
Christopher R. Arthur, Esquire
Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC – Charleston, WV
IS THERE AN IMPLIED RIGHT TO POOL AN OlL AND GAS LEASE?
This presentation will explore the law of implied covenants and their application to pooling an oil and gas lease without the pooling cause.
Kenneth E. Tawney, Esquire
Jackson Kelly, PLLC - Charleston, WV
THE USE OF ALLOCATION WELLS
Allocation wells were first introduced in Texas in 2010. While there have been no cases to reach the Texas Supreme Court, 1,240 permits have been issued by the Texas Railroad Commission to date. The debate in Texas has been shaped to a great extent by the regulatory process. An allocation well being defined to this point as, "a horizontal well that traverses the boundary between two or more leases that have not been pooled and for which no agreement exists among the royalty owners as to how production will be shared.” If recognized by the courts as a valid exercise of the rights granted by a lease, allocation wells would potentially eliminate the need for pooling, thus eliminating one of the major challenges to drilling horizontal wells in this basin. Since only tracts penetrated by the wellbore would be allocated production, the need to pool undrilled tracts would arguably be eliminated. Because the effective frac radius in shales and tight sands is extremely limited, drainage issues and even most implied covenants become relatively insignificant.
James R. Nicas, Esquire
Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC – Houston, TX
William H. Smith, Esquire
Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC – Bridgeport, WV & Denver, CO
UPDATE ON THE NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE WEST VIRGINIA RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES
On January 1, 2015, significant amendments were made to the WV Rules of Professional Conduct, by order of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals. Nearly every Rule of Professional Conduct and/or official comment has been amended. This presentation will highlight the impact of these new rules and other ethical issues..
Rachael L. Fletcher Cipoletti, Chief Lawyer
WV Office of Disciplinary Counsel – Charleston, WV
INADVERTENT WAIVER OF THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IN OIL AND GAS LITIGATION
An energy company interfaces with a myriad of individuals and entities during business development and ongoing operations. Significant amounts of information is shared between many parties and often that information is provided to individuals or entities outside of the corporate entity. A dangerous side effect of information sharing may result in disclosure of attorney-client privileged materials. Learn how to avoid inadvertent disclosures of information and how the common interest doctrine, or the community of interest doctrine, can work for or against you or your client.
Randall M. Kessler, Esquire
Michael C. Cardi, Esquire Bowles Rice, LLP – Morgantown, WV
THIRD PARTY ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS
This presentation will discuss different strategies to take when third party environmental claims are made.
Joseph M. Lovett, Esquire
Appalachian Mountain Advocates – Lewisburg, WV
LITIGATION AND REGULATORY UPDATE
This presentation will provide an update on recent state and federal cases, statutes, regulations and administrative decisions that have occurred in the shale gas industry.
Joseph L. Jenkins, Esquire
Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC – Charleston, WV