Can my oil and gas be accessed from adjoining properties?

It seems to me that it would be easy to suck gas and/oil under one property from an adjoining property. What's to stop that?

With a shallow well, it can happen. What state? Laws probably differ about spacing.

West Virginia

I remember reading that West Virginia is a rule of capture state, sort of like in the olden days of Royal Forests, if the King's deer came running onto your property, you could capture it (shoot it and eat it) even though it came from the King's forest. Shallow vertical wells drill into a pool of oil or a pocket of natural gas. If the pool is partly under your property and partly under your neighbor's, and you (the company you lease to) drills a well near the boundary line, your well sucks up the oil (or gas) from the pool, not just from the part under you. I have seen old leases written where the lessee is obligated to drill enough wells to protect the oil or gas from being drained by neighboring wells.

For the horizontal wells, they have to drill then perforate the wellbore (the horizontal part) and sent the sand pieces (using layman's term because I can't remember the technical term) through the perforations into the rock to fracture (frac) the rock and let the gas escape back up the well bore. The rock fractures for a certain distance away from the wellbore, and there are spacing rules (not sure the distance) that wells need to be set away from each other. They know where these horizontal bores are, under whose properties, and the properties above the wells have to be in units. I have heard that they can cheat a little on this but there are a lot more ways to know what is going on with those wells than with the vertical ones.

Not sure if this is what you were wanting to know.

Yes, Nancy, thanks so much. I inherited a small portion of coal, oil, and gas rights from a great aunt. I live in Ohio and I need to get the deed transferred, but I wonder if I am getting robbed in the meantime. Sounds like a possibility. I have no idea of the configuration of the wells.

There is a lot of greed and corruption in the oil and gas business, but a lot of good people too. What county in WV?


I don't know much about Braxton County. The sooner you get your paperwork taken care of, the better. Was your aunt paying property tax on this? That needs to be continued. They (the counties) send out taxes in July of each year for that tax year (July 2017 for the 2017 taxes). The person on the tax account on July 1, 2017 is the one who will get the tax ticket for 2018. However they can add a "care of" and the new person's name and address so the new one gets the tax ticket until all the paperwork gets done to change the title. The County Clerk office deals with the changing deeds (from a sale, or a will if from an inheritance), and the assessor gets the information from the County Clerk office, and sends the change to the tax office. The process in the Clerk's office involves getting the proper documents (deed, will, affidavit of heirship ...). Not sure about the sale situation, but for inheritance, there are different processes to go through depending on if the decedent lived in WV or out of state. If in WV, was it in the county where the property is, or a different county. The County Clerk has to get a form filled out by the executor about the valuation of the property, that gets sent to the WV State Tax office, and they send something back to the county, and there might be a few more steps. It all takes time but has to be done to get things cleared up. If the oil and gas interests are leased, the lessee (the company) needs to be notified. They each have their own requirements, but most need a copy of the will as filed in the county where the minerals are.

Good luck.

I certainly appreciate your time and knowledge, Nancy. Would you advise that I get a WV attorney?

It might be necessary.

The two I know about are:

Scott Windom 1-866-451-9642 in Harrisville, Ritchie County

Kyle Nuttall 1-304-473-1403 in Buckhannon, Upshur County

If they can't help you (access to Braxton county courthouse for example) they might have someone to recommend.

If your aunt left a will, filed and probated in the county where she lived, the first step would be to get the correct kind of copy of that (I think it is an authenticated copy. The people at the Braxton county courthouse should be able to tell you that). Probably start with calling the courthouse and asking to talk with the probate clerk.

There was no 'reply' button after your last comment, but thanks, you are a tremendous help!