WV Supreme Court Rules EQT Can’t Deduct P-P Costs from Royalties

A significant court case was decided last week in West Virginia. The WV Supreme Court ruled in a gas royalty case that not only has significant implications for WV landowners (and drillers), but also may reverberate across the border into neighboring Pennsylvania where the same issue has been a long and contentious fight–what we call a civil war between landowners and drillers. Like all such cases, this one is complicated and not easy to summarize, but we’ll do our best. The WV Supremes have just handed down a decision that says, in essence, that EQT (and by extension other drillers) cannot deduct post-production expenses when calculating royalty payments to landowners. Specifically, the justices in their ruling said that drillers can “not deduct from that (royalty) amount any expenses that have been incurred in gathering, transporting or treating the oil or gas after it has been initially extracted, any sums attributable to a loss or beneficial use of volume beyond that initially measured or any other costs that may be characterized as post-production.” Yikes! That is fantastic news for landowners who now have a case to recoup money deducted from their checks–and really bad news for drillers who will owe that money. The big winners are, of course, the lawyers who will litigate this for years to come. However, hold on to those briefs–EQT has just appealed the decision, asking the WV Supreme Court to reconsider their decision, gently chiding the court for erring in their interpretation of state law on royalties…

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