WV Forced Pooling Lite Not Dead Yet – EQT Wants Special Session

In early April MDN reported that West Virginia’s effort to pass a law dealing with co-tenancy and joint development–what we called forced pooling lite–had gone up in pot smoke (see WV Force Pooling Lite Goes Down in Flames – Lawmakers Blame Pot). Legislators in the House go bogged down debating pot smoking and didn’t have enough time to finish debate and vote on Senate Bill (SB) 576 (for background on what the bill would do, see Analysis of New WV Bill SB 576 re Co-Tenancy & Joint Development). The West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) pulled out all the stops to support the legislation. They organized a bus-in rally at the Capital where nearly 1,000 people showed up to support the legislation (see WVONGA Delivers ~1,000 at Rally to Support Co-Tenancy, Joint Dev.). We thought for sure it was a fait accompli, because WV’s new Governor, Jim Justice, threw his support behind the bill. But at the last minute, the bill failed–as forced pooling bills have failed five times before. However, we did say this back in early April: “So is it curtains for the sixth time on forced pooling? We’re not ready yet to declare it dead during this legislative tenure. The governor in West Virginia has the power to convene a special session. We saw it happen when Earl Ray Tomblin was governor.” It seems our words were prophetic. EQT, one of the biggest drillers in the state, is pushing hard for Gov. Justice to convene a special session and to pass SB 576. EQT is providing some not-so-subtle pressure by indicating they may reallocate some of their drilling budget elsewhere if WV doesn’t pass the law…

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