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Oil, gas leaders say West Virginia drilling bill was result of compromise


Charleston Gazette-Mail

WHEELING, W.Va.  — After a long-awaited “co-tenancy” bill was signed into law, presenters at an oil and gas conference told industry players Wednesday to make sure the industry agrees internally on how to interpret the bill and to flag aspects of it that could cause issue.

“There’s going to be multiple ways of reading it, and I know our working group is really just trying to start at that place and make sure that we all internally agree on how it’s to be read, which is often why you get into lawsuits with things like this,” Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, said of the bill during a panel at the organization’s 2018 spring meeting at the Oglebay Resort & Conference Center, in Wheeling.

House Bill 4268, referred to as the “co-tenancy bill” by the industry, allows gas companies to drill on unwilling or unlocatable owners’ land if 75 percent of ownership gives consent. Gov. Jim Justice signed it into law in March. Similar bills died during previous legislative sessions, although some of those featured “forced pooling” or “joint development” provisions.

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