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At the Well Weekly (v.9.20.2019)


Oil + Gas Update - Okla. Supremes Say Remainderman is not a "Surface Owner" Under State's Surface Damages Act.


Oil prices climbed since our last report alongside a declining rig count while spot prices in Appalachia dipped despite a slight increase in the NYMEX and Henry Hub. In pipeline news, PennEast got a win in another challenge to its condemnation powers under the Natural Gas Act and the FTC dropped its challenge to Nexus's proposed acquisition of an Ohio pipeline after the company modified the proposed deal. In court news, the Oklahoma Supremes decided who has rights to recover as a surface owner under the state's Surface Damages Act.


Here's your week in review...


Rig Counts, Spot Prices + Oil Prices


  • Rigs: National (-868); Marcellus (50); Utica/Point Pleasant (12)


  • Brent Crude: +$62.50/bbl


  • West Texas Intermediate: +$57.75/bbl


  • NYMEX: October 2019 @ ­+$2.637/MMBtu


  • Spot Prices: Henry Hub (+$2.68/MMBtu); Dominion South (-$1.98/MMBtu); Tenn. Zone 4 (-$1.87/MMBtu)


("+" or "-" or blank denotes increase, decrease, or flat. )



WOPL - Appalachia


In our new section, WOPL ("waiting on pipelines"), we provide the latest news on the status of various pipeline projects in Appalachia:


  • Adelphia Project (Greater Philadelphia Region): Nothing new to report.


  • Atlantic Coast (W. Va. to Va. and NC): Nothing new to report.


  • Atlantic Sunrise (Northeastern PA to SE Pennsylvania): Nothing new to report.


  • Constitution (Northeastern PA to NY): Nothing new to report.


  • Empire Pipeline (NY to PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Leidy South - Benton Loop Expansion (PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Mariner East (Western PA to Eastern PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Mountaineer XPress (WV): Nothing new to report.


  • Mountain Valley Pipeline (Northern WV to Southern Va. and NC): Nothing new to report.


  • NEXUS (Ohio to Michigan): The FTC withdrew its challenge to Nexus Gas Transmission's plan to pick up an Ohio pipeline for $160 million after the company agreed to drop a noncompete clause from the deal.


  • NFG FM100 Project (NC PA to Transco): Nothing new to report.


  • Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NJ/NY): Nothing new to report.


  • Northern Access (NW PA to Western NY): Nothing new to report.


  • PennEast (PA to Central Jersey): A federal court in Philly confirmed PennEast's condemnation powers under the Natural Gas Act (see below for more case details).


  • Regional Energy Access (NE PA to PA/NJ): Nothing new to report.


  • Revolution Pipeline (PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Rover (OH, WV, PA to Michigan): Nothing new to report.


  • TransCanada Eastern Panhandle Project (PA to WV): Nothing new to report.

Headlines & Holdings - Appalachia


  • Federal Court Approves PennEast Condemnation Rights. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania confirmed PennEast’s condemnation rights under the Natural Gas Act over the objections of landowners. In re: PennEast Pipeline Company, --- F. Supp. 3d ---, No. CV 18-505, 2019 WL 4447981 (E.D. Pa., Sept. 17, 2019).


Headlines & Holdings - Beyond Appalachia


  • Life Estate Remainderman is not a "Surface Owner" under Okla. Surface Damages Act. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that a vested remainderman is not a "surface owner" under the state's Surface Damages Act entitling surface owners to an agreement covering compensation for damages caused by oil and gas activities, holding that the definition of "surface owner" is one who holds a current possessory interest and concluding that a vested remainderman holds no possessory interests until the life estate ends. Hobson v. Cimarex Energy Co., --- P.3d ---, 2019 OK 58 (Okla., September 17, 2019).


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