We are the surface owners, not royalty.  We want to build a pole barn in a spot where the pipeline goes right through it. The Gas Well company will move the pipeline over to our property line far enough away so we can put in the structure.  However, they will charge us $1200.00 to do so, covering their labor and feet of pipeline needed to move it.  Questions:

1.  Is it our responsibility to pay for moving their pipeline in our way?  Should company pay for some of it?

2.  Should the royalty owner be paying for moving the pipeline or at least part of it?

3.  There is nothing in the Lease agreement that we accepted with the sale that covers this situation.  The original agreement was made in 1976.  The plastic pipeline is not encased in any metal, nor even marked with metal fencing, and last we were told, the Company could not even find their site plan map.

Any responses would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

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Is that line still in use? A plastic line sounds more like a free house gas line rather than a gathering line. Do you know where it goes?
By 1976 "agreement" do you mean Right of way "easement" and/or Lease? That would be what covers that. I doubt their is anything about moving the line for the grantor's (surface owner) convience. So they probably don't even have to move it. So yes you would pay for it.
Be very cautious about this. If that line has been there since 1976 and no written agreement, "adverse use" laws will apply.

Probably well worth getting compentant legal advice.

1. Line is still producing, well is on our property and checked regularly by well tender.

2. It is the original line put in by the originating Gas Well company.

3. ROW first signed in 1976 and subsequently transferred to the previous owner from whom we purchased the land

4. Previous owner still has royalty rights and stated that he pays maintenance fees out of his royalty check.  None of the Gas Well companies including the current one, have done any maintenance for 50 years on the property other than empty the brine tank and check the well for leaks.  No line checks, no road maintenance, no clearing, nothing.

  So unless there is something in that 1976 ROW agreement about moving it, it's your responsibility to pay. I'll add you can not just do it yourself. They would have to give you permission (in writing) . Essentially they have title to that ROW. That would also be true if even there was no ROW agreement. That would be covered under implied rights with the old lease. Unless the lease stated no pipelines or something similar.

I forgot to ask what state and county are you in?

  Now if you want to get really angry. That ROW may allow them put in a Big pipeline at any time. If you don't have a copy of ROW agreement get one. These agreements are forever without some kind of addendum(s) for limits.

  My guess is the old gas lease is just a HBP strategy by current holder of Lease. Probably not even making a profit. Emptying the brine tank and checking the well for leaks is maintenance. Probably costs more than company makes from sales. 

We are located in New York State in Chautauqua County, near Lake Erie.

The Gas Well Co. has quoted $1,200.00 to move the pipeline at the front of the property over a few feet to the side property line.  Seems kind of pricey for that not to mention they can update their pipes and add metal to help them find it in the future.  They still have not been able to locate the line going down the access road to the well.

Attached ROW agreement and found output information on that well.  Seems it is making more than what they put out for maintenance.

For the 12 months in 2013, that well was producing 2160 Mcf, about middle of the pack for the 1500 wells that company owns in our county alone. How much money is that?

Jules

Attachments:

Latest on the moving of the pipeline is that the contractor who will be doing the work thinks that $1200 is very reasonable price.  Moving 1200 ft of pipe and down 3 ft..

Could not find any loopholes; we may have to pay that amount to move the line.

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