Thank you for posting this. I also got my first EQT check on a no deductions TransEnergy/Republic Energy Ventures lease and they took taxes and deductions from mine too. Marion County, WV. Shaver 2H unit.
I called them and have not had a response yet, also my lease expired in november with trans and all they can hold is 750 feet around the well bore so it could get interesting
We have the same problem. Could anyone who has this problem call Christy at 304-363-7788 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to gather as many voices as possible to fight this. We are with the West Virginia Royalty Owners Association.
Not sure, I posted a link but wrong person & deleted it. I would like to know if they are a law firm. If so come out and say so. Don't solicite folks info if you are profiting without making that known.
First let me say, I am not associated with the organization listed, nor do I know the two parties involved.
However, I am familiar with the reputation of the West Virginia Royalty Owners Association and have heard nothing but positive things about the group. To the best of my knowledge, the group is NOT a law firm as you have implied, nor do I know of any manner in which they could profit by volunteering time and efforts to assist other mineral / royalty owners.
Lastly, although you deleted your comment, to associate anyone by last name alone is reckless at best. To jump to a conclusion that a person is a felon, simply by the last name is beyond reckless. While I wear the name Wilson with pride, there have been a few less than honorable Wilsons over the years in WV and I would hate to be immediately convicted as a felon, just because of a shared name. Might I suggest you man up and apologize to the party that you assailed, even if you did delete your post after having been called out.
You are correct. I should not have suggested without knowing and do apologize.
In the last 7 years I found 3 different times that individuals and groups advertised expertise and tried to form groups asking for fees or royalty % saying they could help folks, knowing them, they had no experience whatsoever in O&G. They simply thought they could quickly profit. When called out they vanished quickly.
i am glad to hear this organization is doing good. Thank you.
Is your question about the West Virginia Royalty Owners Association? You can go on line at wvroa.com and read about them. They are a non-profit organization. They have lobbyists in Charleston defending the royalty owners. Ask you legislators (House and Senate) about them. I believe almost every legislature member knows their lobbyist. They work closely with the WV Farm Bureau on royalty issues. If you own minerals you should join them. The more members they represent the stronger they get in Charleston!!
Their phone line must be swamped with calls. I sent an email to the address on their answering machine, RoyaltyQuestions@EQT.com. I attached a copy of my royalty statement and a copy of my lease. I asked when I can expect the deductions to be refunded. Will keep you posted.
I had emailed them prior to getting the checks and they had emailed me back a copy of my lease, I reminded them of the terms and sent them a copy of a document they did not have--- this was after waiting over a month for an owner number-- going to be poor owner relations I am afraid
they all pay below market value key word Well head price as far as taxes I am not sure. We have never had taxes taken out of any checks from Chesp. or Rice so far. But there trying to get what ever they can so be aware
I have been working with an attorney in regard to EQT taking deductions, there have been times they have taken more than 100% of the royalty for 'post-production costs'. Anyone wishing to get together to pursue the matter as a group, I think the more the better.
West Virginia is in for a rough ride, with EQT having been granted, on appeal, a rare rehearing by the Supreme Court, of a lawsuit that they lost in November. This on the heels of Brent Benjamin's loss of his seat on the panel, to a conservative, business friendly, Elizabeth Walker.
EQT has established a pattern in WV of ignoring lease terms, presumably in anticipation of a favorable ruling by the courts. Apparently, Pennsylvania has already awarded the producers the right to break leases by taking transportation costs, etc. EQT has been quoted as saying that their decision to go ahead with these illegal deductions is based on PA's decision.
It appears that the fix is nearly in, as WV teeters on the edge of Fascism.
Should anyone wish to research this further, the case that the court referenced in it's November decision is called Tawney vs Columbia Natural Resources, from 2006.
Here is how I look at gas companies taking deductions,
Say this were gravel, my gravel now it all belongs to me, I agree to let you
sell the gravel and in return you give me 20% you have 80% of it
to cover your costs in selling the gravel.
If you had wanted to mention that you need to take away from my cut
fees for hauling, fuel, marketing or delivery, I do think I would have
not made a deal and would have found someone who could have
made a profit out of the 80% of my gravel.
Your analogy is similar to mine. Having worked in the timber industry, I equate forced pooling to being forced to sell your timber, and forced deductions to being forced to buy the logging equipment, trucks, and fuel to haul the trees to the mill, as well as paying for any repairs to this equipment.
I have not had a reply from EQT. I think I will send them a payment default notice since they did not pay me all the royalty that is due. My lease imposes a $500 penalty for late payments.
West Virginia Royalty Owners,
As many of you know, a bill, SB 244, is currently before the West Virginia Legislature. The bill provides for co-tenancy and lease integration, both controversial topics and proposals WVROA has fought against in the past. However, our organization has made the decision to try to include certain protections for surface and royalty owners included in the bill rather than defeat it outright, and we feel it is important to explain why.
On November 17, 2016, Royalty Owners celebrated a huge victory in West Virginia in the Leggett Vs EQT decision handed down from the West Virginia Supreme Court. Our organization felt it so important that we filed an Amicus Brief in favor of the royalty owner’s position in the case. In its decision, the court, 3-2, said that in light of the Tawney decision and other factors, new wells drilled under the “1/8th” statute are to pay 1/8th royalties without deduction for post-production expenses. Obviously this was a great decision for royalty owners, our organization has always fought against deductions for post-production expenses that dramatically lower royalty payments.
Justice Benjamin wrote the opinion and was one of the three justices in the majority. Justice Loughrie wrote a scathing dissent, questioning the validity of Tawney and clearly siding with EQT’s legal arguments. In January, Justice Benjamin was replaced on the court by Justice Walker, and in a 3-2 decision, the court granted EQT’s petition to re-hear the case, which will occur on May 2, 2017. This is a highly unusual occurrence, and sends the signal that the Leggett decision is likely to be overturned and possibly Tawney as well. If this occurs, Any Lease that does not expressly prohibit deductions for post-production expenses would allow for post-production expenses to be taken! This would be devastating to West Virginia Royalty Owners, and preventing this from happening is our top concern.
So, our goal is to amend SB 244 to include the protection that when a lease is silent on deductions, they are prohibited by that lease. We would also like to see the language granting surface use stricken from the lease integration portion to protect the property rights of our fellow property owners, the surface owners. But if SB 244 includes these things, we as an organization are willing to accept co-tenancy and lease integration as well. That is how important we believe these protections are, and doing this may be our last real chance to keep West Virginia from seeing our royalty checks disappear due to post production expenses.
So please, help us. Call your Senators and Delegates and tell them to include protections for royalty and surface owners in SB 244. Let us protect our royalties before it is too late!
What about all the leases that strictly forbid ANY deductions of ANY kind presently and are being deducted? Will there be a provision in the bill that enacts severe penalties for breach of contract if such deductions are taken. If not, what good is any of this?
Just signed our lease in January 2017. The land agent said that absolutely no deductions would be taken from our royalty. However, the contract indicates, "Lessor and Lessee shall proportionately share all costs arising from post production expenses, severance taxes, ad valorem taxes, and other production related taxes charged to or incurred by Lessee". I believe I have been scammed. Should have obtained an attorney.
Sorry that has happened to you. You don't necessarily need a lawyer, but you do need to read carefully and make them change documentation that is not acceptable before signing.
Trouble is when you insist on a no deductions lease and they refuse and then try to partition you. It is a big threat they have, and very effective. That is the good thing about an attorney that knows oil and gas in the area, and knows how to negotiate with the company. EQT is not easy to negotiate with. I heard that their regional supervisor had said that there will be NO no deductions in his region which included WV. Don't know if that's true but not surprised if it is. Some people pride themselves on being tough negotiators but so do the people on the other side of the table.
You are correct, EQT has no qualms in filing partition suits, I speak from experience, having successfully defended (Through legal counsel) three such suits by EQT.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of not needing an attorney. There are some that have been in the industry for more than 20 years that have found EQT pursuing deductions from leases, in which there are no deduction clauses. The 250.00 - 500.00 spent on an attorney is VERY cheap insurance and provides you with an advocate from the onset.
I have invested heavily in having good counsel. I have 2 firms working for me in Marion county and one in Wetzel. My point to the other poster was that a non-attorney can read the lease document and see whether or not it accurately reflects the agreement that was negotiated with the landman. The burden is on us to make sure that the documents we sign reflect the transaction to which we agreed. An experienced O&G attorney can be a huge asset in negotiating a lease.
If your lease is like mine, you have to give them notice of the violation and they have 30 days to cure the problem. I can't get the Word file to attach, so the default notice/demand letter that I sent on Friday follows below. I sent both the royalty accounting and a copy of the lease with my letter.
My lease requires notices like this to be sent via registered mail, but you definitely need to have proof of delivery, so they can't say they were never notified.
P.O. Box 23536
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-6536
ATTN: Land Administration
NOTICE OF PAYMENT DEFAULT
Re. Owner Number XXXXXX
Ladies and Gentlemen:
You are hereby notified of your payment default under a lease dated DATE, covering our interest in ### acres that are included in the Shaver 2H unit in Marion County, West Virginia. A copy of the lease is attached for your convenience.
The terms of our lease require that royalties are paid “free of costs”, yet you deducted “owner taxes” and “owner deducts” totaling $411.11 from the check dated February 15, 2016 for December 2016 production. As a result, a payment of $1,110.67 was received when a payment of $1,521.78 is owed by EQT. Taking these deductions is a violation of the terms of our lease agreement. I demand immediate payment of this $411.11.
The terms of our lease require you to pay this past due amount together with a late payment penalty of $500 within 30 days of your receipt of this demand letter. If I have not received your check for $911.11 within such time frame, this lease shall be forfeited.
I sent mine out today Lisa and I also reminded them of the NYMEX price
mentioned in the lease along with being paid on the decatherms for all hydrocarbons. They had emailed me my lease number too. so we sit
and wait for the 30 days to pass.
I do have one neighbor that said they took no deducts from ????
now that is interesting
HERE IS THE ANSWER FROM EQT
It is the position of EQT Production Company that we may take deductions on this lease type. Deductions include, but are not limited to costs incurred by Lessee or its affiliates for transportation, taxes (including severance taxes), gathering processing, line loss and compression. The taxes reflected on your remittance statement are deductions for severance, ad valorem and/or other applicable taxes. Natural Gas Liquids are represented on your remittance statement in the net price received. EQT pays based upon the Btu content of the natural gas extracted. A higher heat index will fetch a higher price; likewise, a lower heat index will return a lower price at market. Finally, we have determined that your lease agreement provides for NYMEX pricing. We are working on having this information updated in our systems. We appreciate your patience during this period of transition. I hope you have found this information beneficial. Should you require any additional information, please contact EQT Owner Relations
Mineral owners do not owe severance tax. I know this because I paid severance taxes last year, directly to WV. They mailed me blank quarterly returns, so I completed them and paid whatever I calculated as being due. When I called about a question I had, I had a long discussion that ended in me being told that only operators, not owners, owe the severance tax. I was directed to write WV a letter and file a new severance tax annual filing, showing what I had paid. I received a full refund of both the severance tax and the additional severance tax in 2016.
Thanks Lisa that is a good thing to know, I`ve tried for over a month to talk some sense into them so I guess I will let a law firm do the rest of my talking
for me. I have it stated that I will not receive less than the producer
don`t know any way to make it any plainer for them that that is
The State AG's offices allow lease terms to be ignored.....
More and more O/G companies are just stealing from landowners by taking deductions
because they know they can get away with it.
Anyone want to purchase my minerals.....no wells...don't want to deal with the O/G
I just found out today that Tug Hill is also following this same practice of taking deductions where there predecessor Gastar did not, this is an alarming trend in the industry
Even the old Clinton O/G companies have started to take deductions.
For 10 years.....no deductions......now that the Shale drilling came to town and the Big players took deduction whenever they felt like it....the Clinton operators joined in and started taking deductions. They don't even come and check the wells anymore.
I don't know what the answer is. If the elected officials wont do anything aboutit,saying its a civil matter, and the lawyers and courts wont protect the landowner's mineral rights, then maybe people may have to take matters in their own hands. And that brings to mind a whole bunch of unpleasant "civil" matters! and a lot of those I cant talk about on here.
The Doddridge County Circuit Court recently granted our Motion for Summary Judgment in a trespass case against EQT Production Company. The case is an extremely important one for surface landowners in West Virginia. Essentially, our clients argued that EQT unlawfully trespassed on their land when it drilled nine horizontal wells into neighboring tracts of land (from our client’s property). The Court agreed.
This landmark ruling affirms the rights of West Virginia surface landowners and holds that EQT did not have an implied right to drill horizontal well bores into neighboring tracts (from our clients' property). Therefore, absent express consent from the surface property owner, EQT’s conduct was a trespass.
The trial on damages is set to begin on April 24th in West Union, West Virginia.