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4 Joule: Duq. Energy & Envtl. L.J. [i] (2016)

handle is hein.journals/joule4 and id is 1 raw text is: 





Who Owns the Right to Store Gas: A Survey of Pore Space Ownership
                                 in U.S.  Jurisdictions

                                     Stefanie L. Burt'

INTRODUCTION

I. THE MAJORITY  OR AMERICAN  RULE

II. THE MINORITY OR ENGLISH RULE

III. LEGISLATION

IV. KEY UNDECIDED   OIL AND GAS PRODUCING   JURISDICTIONS

V. FEDERAL  LANDS

CONCLUSION

                                      INTRODUCTION

This article addresses the issue of pore space ownership under both state and federal law. Pore
space is the term used to refer to depleted subsurface geological formations that are used as
storage reservoirs for the storage of natural gas or other minerals. Because the owner of the
depleted geological formation is entitled to compensation for use of the formation as a storage
reservoir for natural gas, the ownership of pore space  is an issue that consistently arises
regarding natural gas storage fields.

Natural gas storage fields are located in the depleted subsurface formations, the pore space,
where natural gas was previously extracted. These storage reservoirs are characterized by porous
and permeable underground  formations that are largely surrounded by impermeable formations,
rock, or other barriers.2 After the native natural gas has been extracted, the operator of the
storage field injects non-native natural gas into the depleted formation for later distribution and
use.

Natural gas storage fields located in these depleted subsurface geological strata are certificated
and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). There are 185 federally
certificated natural gas storage fields located in 22 states and at depths ranging from 1,000 feet to
5,000 feet below the surface of the earth.3 Generally, the operator of a natural gas storage field is
vested with powers of eminent domain via the Natural Gas Act to acquire the property interests
necessary  to operate and  protect the  storage field. 4 However, an  operator may   avoid

1 Stefanie L. Burt is an energy and natural resources attorney at Reed Smith LLP. Attorneys Thomas J.
Galligan and Jennifer M. Cully assisted with this article.
2 Natural Gas Storage - Storage Fields, FERC (Mar. 30, 2016, 12:10 PM),
https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/indus-act/storage/fields.asp.
3 id.
4 15 U.S.C. § 717-717z (2012).

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