Oil & Gas / Mineral Rights

Oil and Gas

One of the most important developments to affect Northeastern, North Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania since the discovery of oil in Western Pennsylvania in the 19th century has been the discovery of cost-effective technology to extract natural gas from a mineral stratum known as the Marcellus Shale. The synergy between this natural resource and modern production techniques has also created a need for lawyers who can provide solutions in the complex field of oil and gas law for landowners who wish to lease or preserve their mineral rights, as well as advise them about offers to locate ancillary oil and gas facilities on their property, counsel them when they suffer property damage or bodily injury resulting from gas development operations and represent them when a question or dispute arises over the ownership of the surface and subsurface estates in real property.

Experience and Knowledge Sought by Diverse Sources

Saunders Law has represented Pennsylvania landowners, both in-state and non-resident, in leasing of oil and gas rights, and the negotiation of other agreements with the natural gas exploration and production industry since the natural gas rush exploded in Pennsylvania. Our knowledge in and experience with oil and gas law has been sought out by major media services and publications such as The Associated Press,  The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-GazetteOil and Gas Journal, Gas Business Briefing, and prominent Wall Street venture capital firms. We have advised Pennsylvania land and mineral rights owners with property in most of the 39 counties of the Marcellus Shale region – some who live as far away as Alaska. Being regularly asked to plan and present legal conferences for other members of the bar by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (the education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association) and write for its legal publications reflects an independent recognition of a lawyer’s experience and knowledge. This is one important area in which talk is not cheap. Please visit Steve Saunders’ biographical page to view his past and future speaking engagements as well as his published and upcoming articles.

Multi-Disciplinary Experience Benefits Clients

The ability to represent a landowner in mineral rights leasing and transactions for facilities that support natural gas development involves more than an understanding of general real estate and contract law. Ask a lawyer questions.  Beware of those whose experience is in other general areas of the law. One of the most significant yet underemphasized elements of knowledge a lawyer must possess to properly advise clients in oil and gas matter is environmental law and the implications that natural gas development can have on the soil, air, water and ultimately a property’s future marketability and long-term value.

A long background and experience in environmental law is just one of the criteria separating Saunders Law from the competition in the oil and natural gas and mineral rights arena. From understanding and tracking the evolving legislative and regulatory permitting and operating framework in Pennsylvania, to advising clients on the trends and developments in the oil and gas industry, we provide both the expected and value-added service a landowner needs to make an informed decision about whether, and on what terms, to enter into a natural gas lease or other agreement.

Resolving Questions about Subsurface Ownership or Control

Oil and Gas law involves much more than negotiating leases and other agreements associated with natural gas production for landowners. You do not have to have a natural gas lease to become involved in a dispute over who has the right to access your property and develop its potentially numerous and distinct subsurface mineral interests. Old deeds or leases can reserve mineral rights to prior individuals and may survive far into the future. Make certain that your lawyer understands the law governing mineral rights in Pennsylvania and the difference between the surface rights, the right of support, and the potentially separate ownership rights not only to oil and gas, but to all minerals beneath the surface. Is a lease you previously entered into still in effect? Has a natural gas developer breached the terms of an existing lease, and if so, what course of action should you take to protect your investment? Is the land burdened with a pipeline or other easement, storage agreement or other right of access?

Contact Saunders Law if you are contemplating a transaction involving any mineral right, or should you need assistance with a mineral rights dispute with a prior owner or a natural gas developer claiming rights to natural gas or other minerals on your property or land in which you have an interest.