Received forms from a siesmic testing company reflecting a desire to do seismic testing on property where I only own the surface rights. By the way, it was for property in eastern Jefferson county. The forms seem to be a notice and request for permission. I don't know if permission is necessary due to laws protecting the owner of the minerals. Does seismic testing fall into the same category as access for drilling and extraction? Thought I'd post it on the Jefferson County site since the activity is in the county and would be of interest separate and appart from the question I hope someone can answer.

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Thanks Ray for posting I don't know the answer to your question but I'll do some research and see if I can respond.
Do you know the Company whom the seismic testing company is performing the service? Thanks in advance for your response.
Matt,
Thanks a lot for your prompt response. The testing company is Tidelands Geophysical. Doing it for Exco Resources, Inc. Anything you find would be greatly appreciated. ray
Ray I am not an attorney and my interest is as an owner of mineral rights in eastern Jefferson County, Washington Township I have performed a number of queries, but unfortunately offer nothing "concrete" to answer your question. That being said, most sources allude to the prevalence of mineral rights owners to the detriment of surface owners, when there is a difference in ownership. The research does indicate that the surface owner does have some rights, but they emanate mostly by contractual agreement:
- "The surface owner has rights: Basic rights of the surface owner are provided by state laws, however, every surface owner should decide if stronger protections are needed. The only way to preserve them is to be sure that the contract contains adequate language to protect crops, livestock, buildings, personal property, access and any other desires during the duration of a lease or permanently in the case of a sale."

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/fs2834.htm

I could provide other references which I found during my research, but again there is nothing definitive. Wish I could be of more help but you've brought up an interesting subject and broadened the point of exploration interest in eastern Jefferson County. Let's hope the geology is favorable so we can better understand the value of our gas
Raymond, here is some more information from another source. I will provide two posts in an effort to simplify:
Here's an interesting portion of "SUMMARY OF SELECTED PROVISIONS OF PENNSYLVANIA OIL AND GAS LAW" from the AAPL 2008 Annual Meeting. Note the part I bolded.

IV. SEISMIC ACTIVITY
Pennsylvania has no law governing the right to conduct seismic activity. It is
probable that Pennsylvania courts would find the conduct of seismic activity upon
land without the express consent of the owner to constitute trespass in that it
involves a certain physical invasion of the close. It is also conceivable that
Pennsylvania courts would consider the "loss of speculative value" as an element of
damages.

In my previous post I indicated I'd separate info into two posts. This is the second:

Re: Another seismic question:

With a lease, you probably have a clause giving the company permission to do testing. If a property is not under lease, it is private property and a company may not enter to do testing without permission.
When surface rights and mineral or gas and oil rights have been severed, it can be a sticky situation. In the past, owners of mineral rights have been permitted to go after those minerals they own, even if the surface owner objects.
I beleive this would be the case for doing seismic. However, it would be the responsibility of the company doing the seismic to do its job with a minimum of disruption to the surface property and should be held liable for any damages.



Another seismic question:
In Pennsylvania what permission is needed by a seismic survey company to do testing on land where the surface is owned by one party and the gas owned by another, on one parcel leased and on another parcel not leased? Does the surface owner have any say-so? I’m assuming not.


Of course, I hope these help!

Matt Morris
Matt,
Again, thank you for the research work. After reviewing it all, it appears my rights are very limited. Pennsylvania law seems a LITTLE ambiguous on this, but ultimately I believe the mineral rights owner's rights would prevail with respect to seismic being deemed part of the development process to extract the asset. Please keep your eye on this issue, along with anything else happening in Jefferson County and I will do the same. The property they want to do the seismic on is in Washington Township. Interest is picking up in Jefferson County. I also know there was a horizontal permitted in Jefferson County for this year, however, another site I checked indicated there was no horizontal permitted. Don't know if it was withdrawn or if the other site missed it. Still have 5 verticals permitted. Very close to Washington Township. Just not there yet, but obviously checking things out. ray
Hey Ray, I don't know if your property is leased or not. Is the seismic agreement an opportunity for you to "somewhat" protect yourself?
I do agree with your conclusion with respect to your rights versus the rights of the mineral owner. Sorry for you of course, but hopefully you have a talking relationship with the mineral rights owner for a chance to protect you, without inhibiting their opportunities.
Let's hope things are starting to come alive in Jefferson County. It should, particularly in light of reported successes in nearby locations (Other Counties).
I will keep your issue in mind, but I think you have "almost" resolved it but I hope you continue to share info on "our" county although I live in SC

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