Why Virginia Property Owners Are Entitled To Payments for Coal Gas Produced on their Properties

The property owners represented by the Virginia Gas Owners Litigation Group maintain that under the controlling statutory and common law in Virginia they, not the coal producers, own the coalbed methane gas that is produced from the lands in which they own gas interests.

First, in 2004, in the case of Harrison-Wyatt, LLC v. Ratliff, 593 S.E.2d 234, 238, 267 Va. 549, the Virginia Supreme Court held that coalbed methane gas “is a distinct mineral estate” from coal, and that landowners retain the rights to coalbed methane gas located on their property when they convey or lease coal rights.

Second, a new state law codifies the Ratliff rule. Virginia Code Section 45.1-361.21:1 states: “A conveyance, reservation, or exception of coal shall not be deemed to include coalbed methane gas.”

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