PA Court: Gas Storage Fields Lock Up Property for Drilling Too

In some locations there are small or large underground storage fields for natural gas located in the Marcellus/Utica. We’ve covered stories in the past about one such field–the Brinker Storage Field, a 35,000 acre area in Columbiana County, Ohio that Columbia has used to store natural gas going back more than 50 years (see Some Brinker Field (OH) Leases Revised, Others in Lawsuit). More often than not these fields seem to be a flash point with respect to leases and potential drilling under them. Because the fields were leased years ago, there are disagreements about what the leases say about royalties for any gas drilled under them. Little did we know (in fact we didn’t know) there are such storage fields located in Pennsylvania too. A case went to court challenging the right of Range Resources and NiSource (their Columbia Gas subsidiary) to retain lease rights for both storing natural gas and drilling for natural gas for property partially included in a unit that includes a 14,000 underground Donegal Storage Field operated by NiSource in Washington County, PA. The landowners have just lost the case–meaning units with storage fields under them can “hold by production” undrilled land in the unit solely because there is gas stored…

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