Agua Blanca pipeline ROW offer

Agua Blanca LLC sent an offer for a Pipeline ROW to install 108 rods of 36" gas line. The offer was only $250 per rod. UT Lands schedule starts at $375 for a 24" line. Plus the proposed agreement had no indemnification paragraph or other language that we have successfully added to several other ROWs. I countered with a higher per rod price, 10 yr term, and added language. The landman said Agua Blanca does not do terms. He went on to say the amendments could be added. Today we get a lower offer than the original, their original verbiage, and refusal being AB files Eminent Domain. Sounds like corporate bullying. I am not opposed to ROWs on our land but I do expect fair treatment. How do Eminent Domain cases typically resolve for landowners in Reeves County? Thanks

Bullying tactic? For sure. They should know how the Permian works. UT Lands damage schedule is usually a fairly agreeable schedule although they have increased quit a bit in the last several years. I believe they have to be a common carrier to be able to use eminent domain. Are they? In any event, that is a long drawn out process and should afford ample time to negotiate. I do not know how Reeves’ board would do in ED cases.

$250 is an insult not an offer imo. A “common carrier” paid us $850 in 2019 in Winkler County. We did accept $250 for a 4" line also in 2019.

Agua Blanca has the power of eminent domain. It is not going to agree to a 10 year term and repeated payments. Find out from the landman where you stand with either the original offer or maybe an increased per rod one-time payment and with the easement language. Realistically you as an individual will have little negotiating room once eminent domain lawsuit is filed and it will likely be filed at the new lower rate. This is where you get representation by an attorney specializing in eminent domain. The fee will be a percent of only the increase in ultimate compensation which is negotiated. Barron Adler law firm in Austin represents landowners across Texas.

1 Like

Thank you for the response. They have sent their Final Offer using an appraisal of the fair market value of the land. This is the first time we have encountered this. I do not understand how fair market value impacts an easement as ownership of the land is not being transferred. I would think the costs to the company of Eminent Domain proceedings would cost more in time and money than the accepted UT Schedule payment to us.

Your tract is only one tiny part of the pipeline. The company has law firm which files standard legal filing in many counties. My experience is that market value is based on the lowest sales they can find, even if quite a distance from the tract and there are higher prices close by. Condemnation is always based on market value on the basis that if you sold, that is maximum of what you would get. You do not want to go through eminent domain and have to pay legal fees to respond in court. You will not be able to argue that State gets a higher rate because they cannot condemn State lands and are stuck. And you will not like the form imposed. Your options are to agree to original offer which should be on the table so pipeline company can avoid condemnation or get eminent domain attorney involved. Time is ticking.

Again, thank you. I read the Landowner Bill of Rights Addendum. Our short ROW would probably not be profitable for a law firm to consider on a percentage basis. Lesson learned when dealing with common carriers!