Pipeline Close-Up

Pipeline Installation Photographs
The following image is a close-up of a pipeline in Eastern Ohio that was being installed in the early fall of 2017.

You can see the welded section (red), the remainder of the pipe (green), and the markings done by welding inspectors. In this instance you can see the word ‘repair’ along with some specific references to dates and inspector numbers. On my client’s properties with high pressure FERC pipelines, I require that 100% of the welds be x-rayed in advance. This is a good illustration as to why I require this. Had this weld not been inspected, the pipeline would have certainly blown out during the water pressure test. Generally, FERC pipelines are tested with water at 110% …

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Pipeline Construction Issues

Pipeline Construction Issues
As a pipeline attorney, I spend a lot of time impressing upon potential clients the importance of having a rock-solid pipeline contract (this can be an Easement or Right-of-Way). The importance of a thorough, specific pipeline contract cannot be overstated. There is something else I say that often surprises landowners, and that is, “no matter how solid I make the contract, neither of us can control what happens on your property during construction.”
Over the course of the last twelve years, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with respect to pipeline construction. I’ve seen A+ operations and F- ones. And the reality is that even the best contract in the world cannot control the …

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Things Land Agents Say – Part Two

This is a second post in a series describing common promises or other statements land agents make to entice landowners to signing leases, easements, or other agreements relating to oil and gas or pipeline transactions. 
Click here to view part one. 
“The crops will grow right over it, you won’t even know it’s there!” While the first part of this statement may be true, the second part is a loaded gun. True, most pipeline contracts allow farmers to plant crops on top of the easement. But trust me, the farmers will know that it’s there. Under the best case scenario circumstances a farmer will suffer yield loses in the first four years. Year one is construction. Year two is reclamation …

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Things Land Agents Say

Things that Land Agents Say – Part One
Part Two can be viewed here.
Today I thought I would write some of the things that I’ve heard land agents say to entice landowners to sign oil and gas documents. Part One will cover things that are not specific to a particular type of oil and gas contract, meaning that you could hear these phrases in lease, well-pad, pipeline, or other oil and gas negotiations.
“Don’t worry, we will just call most of your payment ‘damages’ so that you don’t have to pay taxes.” When I hear this phrase, it makes me want to scream. First, please don’t ever take tax advice from a land agent. Call an accountant—preferably a seasoned accountant who …

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Pipeline Installation and Current Use Taxation in New Hampshire

Would the installation of a pipeline pull the affected land out of the favorable “current use” valuation regime and cause it to be taxed more heavily?
Background
Northeast Energy Direct (NED) has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a license to install a natural gas pipeline across southern New Hampshire.  The question has arisen as to the tax effect on an affected landowner under RSA 79-A, Current Use Taxation.  The issue: Would the installation of a pipeline pull the affected land out of the favorable “current use” valuation regime and cause it to be taxed more heavily?
What is the Current Use Tax rule?
New Hampshire has declared in RSA 79-A that it is the public purpose of the state to encourage …

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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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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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