Obtaining Unexpected Profits from Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act

Overview
Ohio’s dormant minerals act (DMA) is designed to rejuvenate abandoned oil and gas reservations by granting them to the surface owner (a more detailed explanation of the DMA can be found here).
A basic DMA process with one oil and gas holder:
In a very basic scenario, the Surface Owner notifies the oil and gas Holder that their rights will be declared abandoned in 60 days.  In order to retain their interests, the Holder must record a claim form prior to the 60th day.  A timely filed claim form shuts down the whole process: the Surface Owner cannot re-capture the Holder’s interests.
A complex DMA process with several oil and gas holders:
In a more typical scenario, there are several oil and gas Holders, …

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Oil and Gas Lease Ownership Challenges

Below are the materials the National Business Institute asked me to prepare for a seminar on Oil and Gas law.
LEASE / OWNERSHIP CHALLENGES, DISPUTES AND NEGOTIATIONS
A.  Recent case law and litigation trends
Though Ohio was one of the earliest states to have commercial production of oil and gas, surprisingly, it has not developed much of a body of case law in the field of oil and gas.  Frequently, the laws of other states must be reviewed to find cases on point – Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana seem to have the most published opinions concerning oil and gas.
The advent of the Utica shale has changed things.  Numerous oil and gas cases have been filed in Ohio over the last several years and …

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Non-Consenting Landowners and Conflicts Between Leases

This article discusses situations arising when several people own the same piece of land, and only some of them sign an oil and gas lease.  Resolving this issue requires a discussion of basic property ownership principles.
Types of Land Ownership
Ownership in land takes many forms.  Some individuals are the sole owner of their land.  Another piece of land could be owned by several people, such as when brothers and sisters inherit land from a parent.  This joint ownership of a piece of property is usually called a tenancy in common, with the owners themselves known as tenants in common , or co-tenants.
Settling Disputes Between Co-Tenants
Owning property with others may very well result in disputes about how the property should be …

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Ohio Pipeline Map and Proposed ET Rover and Leach XPress Routes

Ohio has so many pipelines that if I tried to put them all on one map, you wouldn’t be able to see much. What I’ve done here is shown what I consider to be the major, state-wide pipelines. All of these lines are interstate (crossing into at least PA, WV, IN or KY). They carry different products. They are different sizes. They have different destinations. What unifies them is their scale- each of these pipelines was a massive undertaking and involved a large number of Ohio landowners.
This map also shows two newly proposed pipelines: ET Rover and Leach XPress. These projects are just getting off the ground now (September of 2014). If you are contacted by ET Rover or Columbia …

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Why am I Still Receiving Royalty Checks?

I sold my property but did not reserve the mineral rights. Why am I still receiving royalty checks?
If you did not reserve mineral rights when you sold your property, you are almost certainly not entitled to royalty checks anymore. The reason the oil and gas company keeps sending them is simple: they don’t know that the property has been sold. Somebody has to tell them. Just because they keep sending checks does not mean that you are entitled to them.
Typically the new owner takes this responsibility upon themselves because they want to start receiving royalty checks. Sometimes, however, they forget. As the former owner, you want to get this cleaned up so that the company doesn’t continue to report this …

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Getting an Oil and Gas Company to Change Who They Pay

I bought property with an existing lease on it. What do I do? How do I get an oil and gas company to update their records and add me as the current owner?
Most oil and gas leases (even really old ones) contain some variation of this phrase: “No change of ownership shall be binding on the Lessee until it is duly notified.” This is legalese for: the oil and gas company will keep paying the old owner until the new owner speaks up and shows ownership.
When you think about it, this makes sense: oil and gas companies cannot be responsible for watching every courthouse in the state to see when a property changes hands. Instead they put the burden on …

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Announcing the ET Rover and Leach Xpress Pipelines

Statistics suggest that 75% of landowners will sign the pipeline agreements and negotiate a settlement without getting an attorney involved. The pipeline companies hope that you make that mistake. Be smarter than the 75%– learn about how you can protect your bottom line and your property by joining a landowner group.

Johnson & Johnson has recently teamed up with attorneys Steve Davis and Craig Vandervoort, also known as the Ohio Pipeline Attorneys. Steve, Craig and Molly are currently forming pipeline groups for both the ET Rover and Leach Xpress pipelines. We use our own tried-and-true method of individual representation within a group setting. We believe this gives our clients the best of both worlds.

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Pipeline Installation – Wet Spots

When a property is known to be wet (or have wet spots) it needs to be dealt with specially. This issue is not to be confused with wetlands, which require substantially different treatment. When a property is simply muddy, the heavy construction equipment can sink. This is bad news for you because it can cause more damage to your property than necessary. It’s bad news for the pipeline company because it can damage their equipment and delay the project (and time is money).

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Pipeline Boring

Can a pipeline be installed on my land without disturbing the surface?
Sometimes a pipeline company runs into something that they can’t excavate above-ground, such as a wetland, a driveway, a public road, or an area known to contain endangered species (the EPA and the ODNR take wetlands very seriously in the State of Ohio). In such a situation, the pipeline company won’t be able to dig a trench, so instead they will bore underneath the area.
What’s the difference between above-ground installation (trenching) and below-ground installation (boring)?
Trenching is referred to as ‘open cutting’ the property. I love this term because it sounds exactly like what it is: an open cut running across your land. The opposite of open cutting is ‘boring,’ …

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Pipeline Right-of-Way Width

Why does a pipeline company need fifty to one hundred feet of width to install their pipeline?
It depends on how many lines the company is installing and what size the pipeline(s) are. Modern safety standards require that lines be buried in their own ditch. The pipeline company likes to leave two to five feet between each line (this varies depending on the width of the lines, the products within the lines, and pressure). This allows them to access each line via backhoe or Track Hoe without endangering the next line over. So if your Right-of-Way (“ROW”) allows for four or five pipelines the occupied space can easily be twenty-five feet even for lines that are only twelve inches wide [(four, …

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