Columbia Natural Gas Storage Fields Use Without Payment West Virginia Class Action

After natural gas is produced, it may be kept in underground storage fields. Natural gas companies must acquire the rights to store the gas in these storage fields from the owners of the land above and must pay for any additional gases removed with the stored gas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (CGT) and Columbia Pipeline Group Services Company (CPG) have not properly acquired the rights to certain storage fields they use in West Virginia.

The class for this action is all persons or entities who own surface real property in West Virginia or who hold oil and/or gas mineral rights to real property in West Virginia that is located within the certificated boundaries of a Columbia storage field in West Virginia, but with whom Columbia has not reached agreement about compensation for gas storage, has not acquired gas storage rights by contract, and to which Columbia has not exercised the right of eminent domain.

Columbia stores and transmits gas under the authorization and regulation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The companies own and operate twelve storage facilities in West Virginia which consist of natural geologic formations of porous and permeable rock.

When gas demand is low, Columbia injects and stores gas in these fields. When demand is high, it withdraws gas and transmits it elsewhere for sale and use. When it removes gas, the complaint says, it also removes some “native gas” that already existed under the ground before it injected its gas.

Columbia must negotiate the rights to use the storage fields and the fees for the native gas with those who own the land above and its mineral rights. If it cannot do so, it may apply to FERC to acquire these rights through eminent domain.

The complaint alleges that Columbia has not properly acquired these rights related to its storage fields in West Virginia.

Gas companies like Columbia must get a FERC a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity before they can negotiate compensation with property owners. Even after a company has such a certificate, it cannot use the property without paying just compensation.

The complaint points out that the boundaries of Columbia’s storage fields in West Virginia are known only to FERC, the state, and Columbia. They are not available to those who own the real property that may lie the storage fields.

Although the company has notified some property owners that their land lies above its storage fields, the complaint alleges that the company has been using the fields “for an indeterminate amount of time without previous notice and without paying just compensation” to the landowners.

The complaint alleges trespass and conversion, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Mineral Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Columbia Natural Gas Storage Fields Use Without Payment West Virginia Complaint

April 21, 2020

After natural gas is produced, it may be kept in underground storage fields. Natural gas companies must acquire the rights to store the gas in these storage fields from the owners of the land above and must pay for any additional gases removed with the stored gas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (CGT) and Columbia Pipeline Group Services Company (CPG) have not properly acquired the rights to certain storage fields they use in West Virginia.

Columbia Natural Gas Storage Fields Use Without Payment West Virginia Complaint

Case Event History

Columbia Natural Gas Storage Fields Use Without Payment West Virginia Complaint

April 21, 2020

After natural gas is produced, it may be kept in underground storage fields. Natural gas companies must acquire the rights to store the gas in these storage fields from the owners of the land above and must pay for any additional gases removed with the stored gas. The complaint for this class action alleges that Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (CGT) and Columbia Pipeline Group Services Company (CPG) have not properly acquired the rights to certain storage fields they use in West Virginia.

Columbia Natural Gas Storage Fields Use Without Payment West Virginia Complaint
Tags: Energy, Mineral or Similar Land-Related Rights, natural gas storage