The Exponent Telegram | March 2, 2015
The West Virginia Legislature this year is considering a “fair pooling” bill that if passed would permit natural gas companies to combine — or “pool” — one or more tracts of land together into a drilling unit or units to develop oil and gas wells.
Pooling is not new to West Virginia. State law already allows pooling for deep wells (which are located below the Marcellus formation) and shallow secondary oil recovery and coal-bed methane wells.
The current law does not allow for pooling for horizontally drilled wells. This is a case where the law has failed to keep up with technology and needs to be updated.
House Bill 2688 has been born out of lengthy negotiations between the oil and gas industry and several groups representing royalty and surface owners, and the Farm Bureau. I am pleased to say the bill has support from these groups and many others.
The groups that are supporting HB 2688 include, among others:
— West Virginia Farm Bureau
— West Virginia Land and Mineral Owners Council
— West Virginia Royalty Owners Association
— West Virginia Associated Builders & Contractors
— West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
— West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association
— Independent Oil & Gas Association
— West Virginia Contractors Association
— West Virginia Manufacturers Association
These groups and others realize that this may be the best opportunity the state has to create thousands of new jobs, millions of more dollars in local and state tax revenue and provide the protections that royalty and surface owners are requesting.
All parties have worked diligently over the past three months to craft legislation that is fair to all interests.
If West Virginia is to reap the benefits of the abundance of natural gas reserves beneath our state, with as little surface and environmental disturbance as necessary, then pooling (or combining tracts of minerals) is the most efficient method.
The legislation is fair to all parties; it reduces the impact to communities, raises significantly more local and state tax revenues and creates jobs. This year is the year to pass fair pooling in West Virginia.
Please call your local legislators and ask them to support the bill.
West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association