West Virginians interested in learning about issues surrounding forced pooling in the oil and natural gas industries now have access to West Virginia University’s research-based, unbiased fact sheet.

The fact sheet is available at http://bit.ly/ForcedPooling.

Pooling is the act of grouping tracts of land together to combine the oil and natural gas resources that are common to those tracts to drain to one, shared well. This can be voluntarily negotiated between a company and mineral rights owners. If that process fails, pooling could be “forced” and the mineral rights owners could be required or forced to join a mineral lease by a law or regulation.

It’s an evolving issue that could affect many West Virginians, from those who own a fraction of mineral rights to those who own surface rights. It’s also a trending topic in the state’s legislative session.

“West Virginians need to learn about forced pooling and how and when it is used so they can properly assess how any proposed laws will affect them and the state,” said Joshua Fershee, professor and associate dean for faculty research and development at the WVU College of Law. “Forced pooling is not inherently harmful or beneficial. Depending on how they are written, forced pooling statutes can provide an efficient and equitable way to solve mineral rights disputes or they can impede the bargaining process.”

The WVU Extension Service Oil and Natural Gas faculty members collaborated with the WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development to put together the educational handout entitled “Forced Pooling and Dispute Resolution.”

According to WVU experts, an unbiased look at the issue is necessary for people to make educated, informed decisions.

The handout provides an in-depth look at what forced pooling is, current West Virginia laws regarding the issue, how severed mineral rights occur, the disputes that can arise from a severed estate and considerations for possible forced pooling legislation.

WVU Extension’s educational approach to oil and natural gas topics takes several forms, including educational handouts, regional oil and natural gas classes on a variety of topics and the statewide Enhancing Public Understanding of Natural Gas Issues conference.

Educational documents are also offered about how property owners can worth with pipelines on their land and replanting areas affected by well sites. Selected archived presentations are also offered at the group’s website, anr.ext.wvu.edu/oil_gas.

With natural gas topics on the mind of property owners across the state, WVU Extension Service’s Oil and Natural Gas Team aims to provide unbiased programming based on expertise and knowledge to help the citizens of West Virginia make informed decisions about the natural gas industry.

For more information on oil and natural gas programming in your community, or for more resources such as the educational handouts, contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.



CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU Extension Service
304.293.8735, Cassie.Thomas@mail.wvu.edu

James Jolly, WVU College of Law
304.293.7439, James.Jolly@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.