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Officials in West Virginia’s natural gas industry say passage of house bill is vital


The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with the Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia say passage of a co-tenancy bill currently before the West Virginia Legislature is vital to the industry’s success in the state; however, Monday, Gov. Jim Justice said he wants the bill to die in the Senate in order to tie it to raising severance taxes in a special session.

“Under this co-tenancy bill, a natural gas drilling project could proceed as long as 75 percent of ownership approves, even if other co-owners object,” said Brett Loflin, of Northeast Natural Energy and and IOGAWV board member. “It also has protections for non-consenting owners. They can take a royalty provided to consenting owners and a lease bonus or a second option of becoming a working interest owner in the natural gas well.”

Loflin said currently in West Virginia, natural gas developers must have 100 percent approval from land owners.

“In some cases, rights owners can’t be found to sign leases, resulting in a great deal of acreage being unavailable for drilling that otherwise would be,” he said. “Sometimes there are multiple rights owners listed for a property and all of them can’t be found.”

House Bill 4268, known as the “Co-tenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act,” would lead to more natural gas drilling in West Virginia, proponents say.

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