Oil and Gas Law in Pennsylvania: The Basics

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By Lisa Vari on G+

If you’re living in the Western Pennsylvania area including Allegheny County, Butler County, Beaver County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, or Erie County, you should be aware of the abundant natural resources that exist around these areas in terms of oil and gas. It is important to know your rights if you are a property owner looking to lease or sell mineral rights on your property to a drilling company or a mining company so that you know exactly what type of agreement you are signing.

If you’re a property owner, it is best to seek the advice of a Pennsylvania oil and gas attorney in order to negotiate oil and gas leases. Additionally, from the operating companies’ and drilling companies’ perspectives, having legal representation is key to determining what rights you are obtaining through an oil and gas lease or oil and gas agreement.

Many of these agreements address “extraction” – or how the minerals and oil can be removed from the land and which party retains the rights to those natural resources. From the oil and gas companies’ perspective, an attorney can assist with finding and acquiring properties for surface operations, for pipelines, and easements, or a “right of way” on property in order to obtain natural resources from that property.

In order to enter into these agreements, title searches must be performed in order to determine ownership of the surface of the land, which party has the right to produce the minerals from the surface and operate for these minerals, and who owns the surface support or the “third estate” as recognized by Pennsylvania law.

Additionally, a person interested in learning their rights with regard to minerals and natural resources in Pennsylvania must understand that sometimes the rights to coal, coal bed methane, and oil and/or gas exist in the same area, there may be conflicts between these interests that need to be resolved. This is why it is necessary to determine which party has the mineral rights to which substance and the rights that go along with that particular substance.

Call our office and we can put you in touch with a Pittsburgh Oil and Gas Attorney today!