Pennsylvania has a long and storied history in the production of fossil fuels. The world's first oil well was drilled in the northwest part of the state. In fact, Pennsylvania produced one-half of the world's oil until the 1901 boom in the east Texas oil fields. Today, Pennsylvania is experiencing a renaissance in the industry it spawned in 1859, particularly in the recent spike of activity related to the Marcellus Shale play.
In developing the Oil and Gas Industry group, McNees Wallace & Nurick marshaled the collective experience of attorneys in our Real Estate, Environmental, Transportation, Energy, Communications and Utility, Asset Planning and Federal Taxation, and Business Counseling law groups. Whether it is assistance with lease documents, well permitting, water resource permitting/acquisition, wastewater treatment and disposal, movement of well drilling equipment, or collection and conveyance via gathering lines and pipelines, McNees attorneys collectively can apply these areas of experience to help you. In addition to the aforementioned services, the attorneys in the Oil and Gas practice group counsel individuals, hunting clubs and other organizations on estate and business planning techniques that can be utilized to address both tax and generational planning issues that can arise with recently acquired wealth attributable to both the "bonus payments" for the primary term of a gas lease as well as future royalties. Our attorneys also counsel clients on the ramifications of a lease if you are a business entity, including the income tax consequences upon receipt of the bonus and lease payments, and more importantly, the limitations on the use of those funds in some situations.
While the production of oil and gas was born in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the state's regulatory framework is quite complex. Our attorneys have extensive experience assisting clients before the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the primary regulatory agency involved in oil and gas well permitting. We recognize the importance of water to the well drilling and fracing process, and have assisted clients in obtaining water withdrawal approvals before the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) and other water basin commissions.
The Marcellus Shale Formation. Unlike the crude oil that seeped out of the ground from shallow deposits, today's energy resource lies thousands of feet below the surface. It has long been known that Pennsylvania had a significant deposit of Devonian black shale called Marcellus that contained natural gas. It has only recently become the subject of exploration interest as a natural gas resource play. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or "fracing" have the potential to significantly increase the recoverable gas from Marcellus Shale. Experience gained in the Barnett Shale of north Texas and the Fayetteville Shale of northern Arkansas is proving its value in this similar resource play.