Gas Industry Pushing for Forced Pooling Again -- 2016 Standoff

Legislative Session began January 13:

"I know there are some who are not in favor of this. But, for anything beneath the Marcellus, they can pool it right now," Evans said, noting he will likely be one of the co-sponsors of the bill upon its introduction. "I think this will be a good bill. If they skip over you, you will not get anything. This would ensure that you at least get something." -- Wrong

McGeehan, however, does not buy this argument.

"You are going to have a redistribution of wealth from West Virginia landowners to huge out-of-state oil and gas companies," he said.-- Right

My view:

The problem with the argument that forced pooling already exists for deep formations such as the Utica is that is misleading -- the current old law speaks of a "pool" of free flowing oil and gas in conventional reservoirs produced by vertical drilling; therefore, it should not apply to unconventional horizontal shale drilling that requires fracture stimulation in order to produce hydrocarbons.

See 22C-9-7:




§22C-9-2. Definitions.

(9) "Pool" means an underground accumulation of petroleum or gas in a single and separate natural reservoir (ordinarily a porous sandstone or limestone). It is characterized by a single natural-pressure system so that production of petroleum or gas from one part of the pool affects the reservoir pressure throughout its extent. A pool is bounded by geologic barriers in all directions, such as geologic structural conditions, impermeable strata, and water in the formations, so that it is effectively separated from any other pools that may be presented in the same district or on the same geologic structure;

My conclusion:

The currently antiquated legislation regarding forced pooling only governs a "pocket" or "pool" of petroleum or gas -- a completely different animal than fracking and horizontal drilling.  Hence, current legislation does NOT allow a company to force pool during unconventional Utica drilling. 

Even if there was a current law to force pool the deep formations, new legislation should be to eliminate that rather than allow shallow forced pooling.

Contact your Senate and House Members to let them know where you stand on this issue as a property owner and/or West Virginia resident:

Joint Standing Committee on Energy - Interim

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