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Q: Oil company right of way on privite property ( Answered,   5 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Oil company right of way on privite property
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: sierratango-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 05 Sep 2006 16:37 PDT
Expires: 05 Oct 2006 16:37 PDT
Question ID: 762532
I live in Liberty County, Texas. A privite oil company wants to run
their pipe line through my pasture. They tell me they want to
negotiate with me but in the end they have the right and I can't stop
them. Is this correct?
My sip code is 77535
This is not a public project. The company is called Cimarex Energy
Answer  
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 05 Sep 2006 17:56 PDT
 
Dear sierratango,

Unfortunately, the oil company is right when they claim that they can
build the pipeline through your property even without your approval.
Texas law grants companies owning, operating, or managing oil
pipelines the right and power eminent domain, e.g. the power to
expropriate private property for their projects without the owner's
consent.

This right is defined in the Texas Natural Resources Code, Chapter 111
("common carriers" refers to the oil companies):


" 111.019. RIGHT OF EMINENT DOMAIN.

(a) Common carriers have the right and power of eminent domain.

(b) In the exercise of the power of eminent domain granted under the
provisions of Subsection (a) of this section, a common carrier may
enter on and condemn the land, rights-of-way, easements, and property
of any person or corporation necessary for the construction,
maintenance, or operation of the common carrier pipeline."


It may be just cold comfort for you, but the law also states:


" 111.0193. RESTORATION OF PROPERTY.

Every condemnation award granted under this chapter shall require that
the condemnor restore the property which is the subject of the award
to its former condition as near as reasonably practicable."


So this is, alas, applicable law in Texas. I'm very sorry for not
having better news for you; but I hope that I was able to answer your
question.

Best regards,
Scriptor


Source:

Texas Legislature Online: Texas Statutes - Natural Resources Code
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/nr.toc.htm
Comments  
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
From: nelson-ga on 06 Sep 2006 05:20 PDT
 
Of course, you could "accidentally" damage the pipeline while "gardening".
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
From: myoarin-ga on 06 Sep 2006 05:31 PDT
 
Sierratango,
I think the matter is not quite that simple.  
From the description of the problem:  "A privite oil company wants to
run their pipe line through my pasture", it could be that Cimarex
Energy does not qualify as a "common carrier."

Here is another passage from the Natural Resources Code:
	 111.003. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER.  (a) The provisions 
of this chapter do not apply to pipelines that are limited in their 
use to the wells, stations, plants, and refineries of the owner and 
that are not a part of the pipeline transportation system of a 
common carrier as defined in Section 111.002 of this code.
	(b)  The provisions of this chapter do not apply to any 
property of a common carrier, as defined in Section 111.002 of this 
code, that is not a part of or necessarily incident to its pipeline 
transportation system.
Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2579, ch. 871, art. I,  1, eff. Sept. 1, 
1977.

That sound more hopeful, but someone closer to the situation will have
to clarify if the right of eminent domain for "common carriers"
applies to the proposed pipeline.

My purely personal opinion is that the company would not have offered
to negotiate if it knew it had the right of eminent domain.

Sierratango, I am sure that you need the legal advice of someone in
Texas who knows the law and the specific situation, AND if it turns
out that the company must negotiate with you, you should seek
professional advice to get the proper compensation.

As the disclaimer below states, nothing here is a "substitute for
informed professional ... advice."

In your interest, I hope I am right, but you need professional advice.

Good luck, Myoarin
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
From: scriptor-ga on 06 Sep 2006 07:43 PDT
 
A well-founded remark, Myoarin! So let us say that this is the law the
oil company substantiates their claims on. Whether they are, in this
specific case, entitled to to so is obviously a different and very
complicated question. But there is the general possibility that it is
so.

Scriptor
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
From: myoarin-ga on 06 Sep 2006 10:05 PDT
 
Thank you, Scriptor, for the nice words, and I quite agree.  I would
not have started to look at the question without your posting, so in
my opinion,

( Hark, Sierratango! )

credit for answering the question goes to you, insofar as a yes or no
answer cannot be provided without "informed professional ... advice."

I have not found Cimarex Energy mentioned as a "common carrier", but
that does not prove anything.  Cimarex also does not appear on this
list of "common carriers" from Feb. 2006:
www.rrc.state.tx.us/divisions/gs/CommonCarrierPipelineOperators_000.doc
   (that would be the RailRoadCommission ...)

Perhaps it should be explained that a pipeline "common carrier" is
similar to a railroad, transporting oil or gas for other parties;
hence the control by the Railroad Commission of Texas.

The html file is adequate  - there are many empty pages in the pdf file.

Despite further searching, I could find nothing pertinent.

Again, good luck, Myoarin
Subject: Re: Oil company right of way on privite property
From: barneca-ga on 06 Sep 2006 13:05 PDT
 
one possible explanation for cimarex wanting to negotiate: it is worth
the extra money it might cost them to get things ironed out quickly. 
i suspect even if cimarex is a common carrier, there i legalistic
language in there somewhere that would allow sierratango to challenge
this in court.  maybe he would lose, i don't know, but even if they
are confident they'll win, i bet cimarex doesn't want the hassle if
they can pay for sierratango's cooperation.

i 100% agree with myoarin's "get a lawyer" advice.

-cab

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