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An enormous amount of natural gas is extracted by energy companies—more than the market can absorb. Therefore, companies need a place to store excess gas. The most common storage method is to inject natural gas into pressurized underground caverns, which can include aquifers, salt caverns, or depleted reservoirs. Natural gas may be stored underground indefinitely for later use and the amount of gas being stored is only increasing.
It makes sense for natural gas to be stored close to the location of its extraction—often in the same reservoirs from where it came. States that have significant underground natural gas inventory include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia, .
It is usually impossible to tell just by looking that there is natural gas being stored under part or all of a property. These reservoirs are usually 1,000 to 5,000 feet below ground and often the only sign that a storage field may exist is an injection well. Landowners who do not have injection wells on their property may have no other signs that their land is being used for gas storage. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency that regulates and monitors natural gas storage and FERC keeps records of all underground reservoirs. Energy companies are also expected to maintain maps of any underground gas storage fields. However, this documentation can be difficult to obtain and many landowners have little reason to suspect they may need to consult with FERC regarding the use of their property.
Unless there is an existing easement on your property—which is something you should have been made aware of when you obtained it—the gas company does not have any right to store gas on your property without your consent. By law, energy companies are required to engage in good-faith negotiation with landowners and potentially use eminent domain to secure the right to use privately owned land. The unfortunate truth is that because gas storage can be difficult to detect, companies often skip this step or move forward after consent has been denied and unlawfully store gas because they think they can get away with it and save money.
Many people who suspect their property rights have been violated wonder whether they will be able to afford a lawyer to represent them. Fortunately for landowners, we take all of our trespass and inverse condemnation cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we will not collect any legal fees from you unless we successfully recover on your behalf. If we do, our fee will be a percentage of your settlement or award, so you will never have to pay out-of-pocket for legal representation.
If you are a landowner and believe that gas has been stored on your property without your permission, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. In some instances, you may be able to recover significant compensation by filing a legal claim against the person, business, or other party that used your land. At Sever Storey, we are committed to helping landowners protect their legal rights. To schedule a free case evaluation, call Sever Storey today at 1-888-318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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