Royalty owners’ meeting set for The Greenbrier

Those who own mineral rights should expect to learn more about fracking, pipelining, processing and the impact of environmental regulations during a conference Monday and Tuesday at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Robert Mead, president of the National Association of Royalty Owners Appalachia, said the conference will feature numerous speakers representing the interests of mineral owners, industry leaders and government. Among those scheduled to speak are U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as well as U.S. Department of Energy special adviser Doug Matheny.

“We at NARO Appalachia are very excited about the growth in natural gas and oil production in our region. Without the private mineral owner, none of this would be possible,” Mead said. “Recognizing the growth of renewable energy — and, conversely, the decrease of coal generation, we are an unabashed proponent of responsible fossil fuel utilization, principally natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil.”

According to oilfield services firm Baker Hughes, drilling activity continues to grow throughout Appalachia in comparison to last year. In West Virginia, there are now 15 active rigs, which is up from just 10 at this time last year.

There are now 29 rigs running in Ohio, which is more than double the 14 registered for October 2016, while Pennsylvania’s number is up to 32 compared to last year’s 17.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved permits for the massive Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, both of which are expected to increase the demand for West Virginia natural gas once they open. As envisioned, the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline would connect from Tyler County to run southward through West Virginia and Virginia with the mission of delivering natural gas to North Carolina. The $3-plus billion Mountain Valley Pipeline would run 303 miles south from the MarkWest Energy Mobley complex in Wetzel County to a compressor station in Virginia.

The national NARO group features 11 chapters representing 19 states.

“We are the only national organization representing the 7.5 (million) to 12 million mineral owners in the U.S.,” NARO National Development Director Cynthia Simonds said. “The vast majority of U.S. mineral owners have property through inheritance and never thought they would be in the oil and gas industry as a development partner — but, here they are.”

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(Junkins can be contacted