Marcellus Shale Case Involving Dunham Rule Appealed to Pennsylvania Supreme Court


A Pennsylvania court case that has the potential to reverse a century of case law and several Marcellus shale gas leases has been appealed to the state's Supreme Court. The lawyers who appealed the case to the high court have stated that they are simply seeking the reaffirmation of a property law involving the definition of minerals, The Patriot-News reports.

The legal case was brought forth by the heirs of Charles Powers, who acquired the rights to "one-half the minerals and Petroleum Oils" existing underneath 244 acres of land in Susquehanna County which are currently owned by John and Mary Butler, according to the media outlet.

The state's Superior Court stated on September 7 that the relevant law was ambiguous and that a lower court should request opinions from industry experts, Bloomberg reports. The current law separates mineral rights from oil and gas rights.

The Superior Court ruling brought the legitimacy of many gas leases into question, according to the media outlet. This ambiguity caused a Bloomberg News report to say that the industry in Pennsylvania could face "chaos." The attorneys at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney who appealed the case to the high court said that the media outlet overreacted and that the existing law would be upheld, The Patriot-News reports.