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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Pipeline Installation Process

Execution and Surveying
After pipeline paperwork is signed, the pipeline company will first survey your property. Oftentimes the pipeline company uses an ‘estimated linear feet’ (length of the Right-of-Way [“ROW”] on your property) within their documents because they don’t want to spend money on a survey until they know that you are committed to them. The survey will tell them exactly how long the ROW is on your property. It will also tell you exactly what you will be paid. During the survey the pipeline company should flag the full extent of the ROW. This will include any temporary workspace (they do not typically flag the temporary workspace separately).
Clearing the Right of Way
The next step is clearing …

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Pipeline Negotiations

Since most of the leasing has slowed down in the Utica play here in eastern Ohio, many midstream companies are now approaching landowners about pipeline rights-of-way.  Pipeline agreements are typically drafted as a permanent easement, by which the pipeline company is granted a permanent right to access a strip of land on which to install and maintain a pipeline.  Because pipeline agreements can last a very long time, it is essential that landowners retain a lawyer who can interpret the language and negotiate with the pipeline company to change the terms.  Most of the agreements landowners receive from the pipeline company contain many terms that don’t adequately protect the land, and generally aren’t very favorable to the landowner.  On top …

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