Eye On Earth: Opposition Mounts Against Plan To Drill For Natural Gas In Suisun Marsh
Apr 12, · West Virginia lawmakers drill deeper, compromise on natural gas property tax bill methodology the department uses to value active oil and natural gas well sites. we need to own . Apr 15, · That would largely depend on which province/state the drill work is being done, the type of oil/gas the well will produce & the type of structure being built. If a house is near a "light oil" well it could be as close as yards to the well. If the well is a "sour gas" well, it could be as far as a mile to the well .
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Where does it all come from?
I find it helpful to know that it’s possible to install your own natural gas line as long as you have the proper permits. My dad plans on installing a gas line on his own for the BBQ grill he just bought. I’ll show this article of yours to him and tell him to check the local code authorities. Mar 06, · This article was produced in partnership with the Charleston Gazette-Mail, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.. Since the rise of hydraulic fracturing made it possible to get to the rich layer of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, the number of horizontal well permits — which allow producers to drill for miles underground in all directions from a single point. drill definition: 1. a tool or machine that makes holes: 2. an activity that practises a particular skill and often. Learn more.
Every day, news headlines bring us the latest developments on gas well drilling and all the topics surrounding it--economic, environmental, legal, and social.
Although natural gas has been extracted from underground in Pennsylvania since the mids, new technologies--in particular, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--are making gas extraction from deep reserves more economically feasible. Increasing demand for cleaner domestic energy will bring about continuing exploration. The gas industry is seeking access to high-volume reservoirs of natural gas, called "plays," that lie far below the hills and valleys of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Gas wells that tap the Marcellus, Utica, and other deep shales--as opposed to the shallow wells that have been around for centuries--are known as unconventional wells. Many landowners are realizing significant income by leasing their property to gas companies for exploration and drilling. Maybe a gas company representative or landman has knocked on your door, asking you to sign a lease that grants permission to explore or drill for natural gas on your land.
How do you decide what to do? Only when you understand the gas exploration and leasing process can you make sound decisions for your land and your family. But, reliable, unbiased information about gas deposits and leasing is hard to come by because it's usually carefully guarded to prevent competing businesses from interfering with one another's gas development plans. This guide can be a useful tool for property owners who are faced with the decision to lease or not to lease. It covers the basics of gas leasing and answers some common questions about natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania.
The guide outlines what the gas resource is, how and why landowners are likely to be contacted, how a gas lease works, and what to consider when making decisions about gas leasing. It isn't meant, however, to be an exhaustive treatment of all natural gas issues or to serve as legal advice. You should consult an attorney who specializes in gas leasing before making legally binding decisions. To check on the status of your rights, consult public records, deeds, and real estate titles--you might need the help of an attorney or abstractor to do this.
If you own these natural gas rights you may lease the right to explore for gas to a company that has the equipment and expertise to recover or receive the gas for a period of time, and to accept payment for the lease and royalties for the value of the gas. Note: "mineral rights" and "natural gas rights" are not necessarily the same thing, and you should be clear on what rights are legally yours.
Check the deed to your property for this information. They represent an official written agreement between two parties, usually between the gas company and the landowner. Because leases are binding contracts, to protect your rights as a landowner, you should have the proposed lease reviewed by a lawyer who is knowledgeable in Pennsylvania oil and gas law and experienced in gas leases before entering into any contract. Once you sign a lease, there's really no way you can get out of it until it expires, unless you can prove fraud on the part of the gas company.
To save time, gas companies may offer a preprinted gas lease. You can accept this lease, reject it, or use it as a starting point for negotiating. You can make changes to the lease by creating one or more addenda that are approved by both parties. There is no Pennsylvania law or industry regulation that states you have to lease if you have natural gas on your property. The decision is yours to make.
Keep the lines of communication open with the gas company--it's in your best interest to have a good relationship with them, and for the most part they want to be good neighbors. Stay informed about what's happening on your land as well as in your community. Be an educated landowner! The Marcellus shale, a deep layer of rock that lies 5, to 9, feet underground, runs from the southern tier of New York through western Pennsylvania into the eastern half of Ohio and through West Virginia.
In Pennsylvania, the formation extends from the Appalachian plateau into the western valley and ridge. Horizontal drilling techniques make it possible to recover large amounts of gas from natural fractures in shale.
As organic sediments were laid down million years ago, the black shale of the Marcellus formed. Methane and other natural gas components formed as that organic material decayed and degraded, and that natural gas is now trapped tightly in the dense shale. About million years ago, the pressure of the gas created shale fractures that run as slices from northeast to southwest.
While a vertical well may cross one of these fractures and other less productive fractures, new technology allows horizontal drilling, which can cross a series of very productive fractures. In certain locations, other dense black shales in Pennsylvania--such as the Utica shale, which lies at least 2, feet below the Marcellus--are also potentially rich in natural gas in its methane form as well as oil and what's known as "wet gas," which includes propane, butane, and pentane.
Shallower shales throughout the state also offer potential for natural gas extraction. Map showing the depth of Marcellus Shale deposits, and the boundary line between where wet gas and dry gas are found.
As a landowner, you must give written permission for any natural gas exploration or drilling on your land. All proposed work should be clearly described in the lease or addendum, including compensation for any damages, before any activity begins. Gas wells are drilled where a gas company has obtained the right to explore for and develop natural gas.
Wells are sited according to applicable mineral laws and regulations, with the goal of extracting gas efficiently with as few wells as possible. Geologists and geophysicists working for gas companies use seismic data to interpret underground rock layer formations. They get this data through seismic testing. Slow-moving trucks that contain seismic equipment are a familiar sight in Pennsylvania's gas-rich regions. Seismic equipment generates two-dimensional images of subsurface rock patterns that help gas companies determine the extent of the shale, the direction of the shale layer for drilling purposes, and geological hazards to avoid, such as faulting.
In much of the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania, a three-dimensional system of seismic testing is used to clarify gas deposit geology.
Extensive grids of cabling, small underground explosive charges, and geophones create and record new seismic data. If seismic data suggest a reasonable possibility of efficient gas access at a specific location, a well will be drilled using long sections of drill pipe. Depending on the geology, the drill may travel vertically for several thousand feet, and then gradually angle until it is drilling horizontally.
Multiple layers of cement and steel casing are put into place to stabilize the well bore and protect groundwater. In many cases, multiple wells may be drilled side by side on the same well pad, radiating out in opposite directions. Hydraulic fracturing is a standard practice in the gas industry and a necessary step in the natural gas extraction process.
It involves using water, sand, and chemical additives to create, extend, and prop open formation fractures for the highest gas production.
Natural gas trapped underground has little or no value to landowners. It becomes a valuable resource only when companies with the proper equipment and technical ability begin to extract it and transport it to consumers. When natural gas is extracted from a leased property, the property owner is paid a royalty. As gas companies and geologists determine where gas drilling might be worthwhile in Pennsylvania, they send contractors, called landmen, out to landowners to secure the natural gas exploration rights for a period of time as gas development begins.
This practice helps prevent another company from tying up the natural gas exploration rights and making exploration more complicated and expensive. Landmen will usually visit owners of large parcels first, to lock up as much land as possible in a short time.
For landowners, this visit is often the first experience they have with natural gas drilling. Not all landmen are part of a gas company. Some represent independent brokers and others represent speculators.
Each of these businesses will have a different motivation for securing a lease on a parcel of privately owned land. Depending on where seismic data suggest optimum gas production, different landowners will receive different offers regarding drilling, exploration, surface access, and payments.
In any scenario, you as a landowner should know that the lease will be the basis of negotiation and that the written terms of the contract will supersede anything that is said orally during contract negotiations. An effective gas lease should spell out clearly what each party is agreeing to during the gas exploration process. It should spell out the rights and responsibilities of each party in the agreement, how problems are to be handled, and how long the agreement lasts.
Gas companies must have sufficient acreage under lease before a well can be drilled. Companies determine the drilling unit they want to work in and designate the boundaries of the unit in a process called unitization.
Commonly, unitization is based on an area's geology, and unit size can range from to acres or more and is not mandated by state law. Landowners in the unit receive a pro-rated share of the royalty based on the acreage they have in the unit.
A word about landowner groups: You might have heard friends or neighbors talk about landowner groups in the context of gas leasing. There are different types of landowner groups.
Some exist simply for sharing information about what companies are looking to lease in their particular area, current rates, and any special terms or conditions to the leases. Other groups are involved in marketing their land--they seek out and maximize acres that share a border and make bid proposals to energy companies interested in leasing.
Still other landowner groups engage in collective bargaining, in which all landowners sign off on leasing terms accepted by the majority. This saves energy companies many hours of individual negotiations and gives landowners a strong negotiating position with companies looking to lease land. If you're interested in possibly joining a landowner group, decide what type of group best suits your needs. Research groups in your area before committing to anything.
While the majority of gas leases in Pennsylvania deal with producing natural gas from deep underground shales, depending on where you live, you might be approached with an offer to sign other types of leases--such as for shallow wells or for wastewater deep injection wells.
As always, it's best to consult an attorney with expertise in gas leasing if you're asked to sign such a lease. You also might have heard of the term "top leasing.
While a request for a top lease shows that a company is interested in your property, you should still approach such an offer with due diligence. Will a top lease maximize your benefits? This section outlines some important components of gas leases. While it's not intended as a complete list of gas lease issues, it will help you understand the basics of what's involved in a gas lease. Your lease agreement will specify a primary term, usually five years, and many signed gas leases are accompanied by bonus and rental payments that last through the primary term of the lease.
Depending on the terms of the lease, gas production on leased land and if you are in the drilling unit may lead to a secondary term that lasts as long as production is active, as defined in the lease. You and your attorney should carefully consider the language in the lease agreement because similar-sounding phrases, such as "so long as operations are conducted" and "so long as gas is produced in paying quantities," can have very different impacts.
In any contract, you need to know what you're giving up and what you're getting. If you are offered a gas lease, what you'll be getting is, of course, payment. There are no "going rates" or standard rental payments in gas leases in Pennsylvania.