Does anyone know what the rules are now about drilling under interstate highways or state land. Has anything changed in the past few years. I know there are 2 wells on the ODNR well map near Quaker City that were drilled under I-70 but practically all stop right at the edge of the interstate highway. I've tried to find information on what the current rules are on this but haven't found anything.

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I have always wondered if these companies don't drill under the interstate because they can't figure out in many cases who owns the minerals.  Does the state own them or if the land was taken by eminent domain does the original landowner still own the mineral rights even though they no longer own the surface?  

In West Virginia, I believe that the minerals can be reserved when selling the surface for right of way for a highway. Maybe it isn't always, but I know it can be. No idea about Ohio's laws, but maybe that is the case there as well.


I contacted Gulfport and they said things have recently changed. Now they can drill under the interstate.

Lol.  Ok we had this problem when I worked at CNX Energy.  Now, I can only speak for West Virginia...but Im sure other states or parts of other states could in theory have the same issue.  It turns out that some highways in West Virginia are in fact turnpikes sanctioned guessed it the mothership...Virginia.  So, when WV split the state of Virginia was not cooperative.  Technically and I would like to know more...the state of Virginia may actually own the minerals underneath highways that it originally sanctioned as turnpikes back in the early 1800s.  This would include (I am really kind of hypothetically theorizing here) that Interstate 70 (parts that run with 40 the National Road), and 81 and parts of 64 (that run with the Midland Trail were right of ways sanctioned by VA.  Routes 19, 50 (Northwestern Turnpike), 250 (Staunton Turnpike) 60 (Midland Trail) were all sanctioned by the state of Virginia.  I would be almost certain that an opinion done by an attorney in WV could deem that the oil and gas under these turnpikes belongs to Virginia.  This in theory would also apply to any navagable rivers or waterways.  Then we have to figure out (good luck with that) what in WV is constitutes a navagable waterway...cause technically if you can float a head of cabbage down it...its navagable.  

Very interesting! Thanks for this thought provoking information!


Attached is an email I got in reply to my question by our congressman.


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