Currents - Energy Industry Insights - June 2019

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Supreme Court Sides with Property Owners; Companies have No Right to Get Natural Gas Without Permission -

"The Supreme Court said, 'A mineral owner or lessee has an implicit right to use the overlying surface to access only the minerals directly below the surface. Using the surface to extract minerals elsewhere, without the permission of the surface owner, is a trespass.'"

Why this is important: In its recently issued EQT Production Co. v. Crowder opinion, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia delineated the scope of a mineral owner's implied right to use a surface estate. The Crowder plaintiffs owned separate surface tracts overlying a larger mineral estate leased by EQT. The prior owners of the tracts had severed the surface from the mineral estate and partitioned the surface into smaller tracts prior to any relevant production activity...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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