Richard Cain of Marion County WV has filed a lawsuit in Marion County Court, against Exxon Mobile subsidiary XTO Energy and the Glenville-based Waco Oil and Gas alleging that the natural gas companies do not have the right to place Marcellus shale wells on his land to pull the gas from his neighbors land.
The lawsuit says that though the mineral rights to his 138-acre tract were sold nearly a century ago, and the companies have a right to get the gas from beneath his land, they do not have the right to put several large well pads on top of his land to drain the gas from hundreds of nearby acres.
The lawsuit says the companies “do not have any rights at all to use his surface to drill horizontal wells to, or to explore for or produce gas from, any neighboring mineral tracts.”
The Charleston Daily Mail reports that XTO has approval for one 12-acre pad on a corner of Cain’s property, and that at least three and up to six horizontal wells will be drilled underground. The lawsuit says that XTO plans on placing at least two more wells on his property, claiming nearly 40 percent of Cain’s land.
According to the lawsuit, Cain sent a letter to XTO saying they didn’t have permission to enter his property. XTO replied that they didn’t need his permission.
An attorney for Cain told the Daily Mail “I think that the value shouldn’t just be what it’s worth to the seller, but what it’s worth to the buyer, who is the driller in this case, and I think it’s $25,000 a well in this case to the buyer.” An XTO agent had previously told Cain the company would pay a few thousand dollars for each pad on his land. He also told Cain that he had no say on where the wells would be located or where access roads would be placed. As of April 17, 2011, and against his wishes, Cain’s land has been partially cleared and the trees cut down.