Friday, March 09, 2018

West Virginia bill to allow oil or gas drilling with consent from 75 percent of owners heads to skeptical Gov. Justice

After a tumultuous week, the "co-tenancy" oil and gas drilling bill passed the West Virginia Senate and is headed to Gov. Jim Justice's desk.

"The bill, considered the oil and gas industry’s biggest priority of the session, would allow natural gas and oil companies to drill on land with the consent of at least 75 percent of the owners. It includes an amendment, introduced in the House, to give 50 percent of unknown owners’ interest on the minerals to a Public Employees Insurance Agency stability fund," Kate Mishkin reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. That is related to issues that resulted in a statewide teachers' strike.

It's unclear if Justice, who has many coal interests, will sign the bill. Last week he encouraged state Senators to kill the bill and pass a more controversial joint-development bill, which would allow drillers with old leases to drill wells across some individual property lines without signing a new lease. Justice also proposed a special session to vote on natural gas issues and resolve the teachers' strike. He later "moved back" on that proposal, Mishkin reports.

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