Will an Oil or Gas Pipeline Impact the Value of Your Property?
New Pipeline projects in PA have the potential to impact the value of your property and the comfort of hundreds of thousands of property owners. There are numerous pipeline projects in development and the start up phases. It is more important than ever to know what is coming before it comes. Here are a few tips on the topic and a list of the current major projects. (Note: Even minor projects can be disruptive).
- First of all, the time for steering a pipeline away from your property is in the very early stages. Often the engineers are not able to understand the nature of the ground along the entire proposed line. In one case we met with the designers and engineers before the route was finalized, because we learned the line was proposed to go through the farm of a long time client. During the meeting we walked the property and showed the pipeline reps the nature of the ground under the surface. 2 feet down was a solid layer of quartz rock (can you spell blasting?) We were able to steer the line 1/2 mile away from the farm.
- The pipeline is coming. If you think you can stop it, you are fooling yourself. What you need to do is minimize its impact and maximize your payment. We have found that most of the landmen (men and women) are decent reasonable people who simply want to get their job done. If you think hiring a lawyer who yells and scream at them, and threatens court, will help you….. you have a lot to learn. We find we get more from honey than vinegar. When negotiating does not work we have significant deep experience in court. The fact that we are willing to go to court (and in fact enjoy it) makes pipeline companies want to settle with us to avoid certain litigation.
- You cannot negotiate this yourself. Have you ever heard of brain surgery–self taught??? You need a real estate lawyer with a proven track record.
- The sooner you see a lawyer, the better. It is good to negotiate at the same time as neighbors, but every property is unique and ever easement is negotiated individually. You cannot cross pollinate negotiations. We do not discuss two clients issues in the same phone call unless they are in different locations.
- If the pipeline company involuntarily takes your property, under the law, they have to pay your legal and appraisal fees, but only up to $4,000.
- In almost all cases, we negotiate for payment of our full fee from the pipeline company.
Let’s talk about the 7 major new pipelines. We will give you a link to enable you to go right to the horse’s mouth as to each pipeline.
- Mariner East 1. This line used to carry oil products from the refinery in Delaware County, across the southern third of the state to Washington County. It has been re-purposed to carry gas in the other direction. In 2015 it began carrying propane through 14 counties in southern PA. See: http://www.sunocologistics.com/Customers/Business-Lines/Natural-Gas-Liquids-NGLs/NGL-Projects/208/
- Mariner East 2. This is a new line along the same path as Mariner East 1. A $3 Billion project, it will carry gas from west to east. See: http://www.sunocologistics.com/Customers/Business-Lines/Natural-Gas-Liquids-NGLs/NGL-Projects/208/
- PennEast Pipeline. This line is a $1 Billion project covering 114 miles in eastern PA and New Jersey. See: http://penneastpipeline.com/
- Mountaineer Xpress. This is a $2 Billion project of Columbia Pipeline Group. It will carry gas in southwestern PA and connect to Ohio and West VA See: https://www.cpg.com/current-projects/mxp
- Leidy Southeast Expansion Project. This is an addition to the Williams Transco Pipeline, and is a series of loops in Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming and Monroe Counties. See: https://leidysoutheast.wordpress.com/
- Constitution Pipeline. This line will begin carrying product in late 2016 from Susquehanna County to New York. See: http://constitutionpipeline.com/
- Atlantic Sunrise. This$3 Billion project of Williams partners will cross 10 counties, including Lancaster, Lebanon, Schuykill, Northumberland, Columbia, Lycoming, Luzerne and Wyoming. See: http://atlanticsunriseexpansion.com/
Our team at Tupitza & Associates stands ready to consult with impacted property owners. We handle these issues across the state—- in all 67 counties. We travel for meetings with groups of clients and also meet by phone or WebEx sessions.