Attorney Doug Clark takes another deep dive into sample Pipeline Right-of-Way Easement Agreements presented to Pennsylvania property owners. Doug explains the common mistakes and pitfalls many landowners make when reviewing and considering complicated pipeline easement contracts. Pipeline contracts are drafted by energy company attorneys and are riddled with confusing legalese and loopholes that often confuse property owners. Doug explains the value of having pipeline right-of-way agreement reviewed by The Clark Law Firm, PC and the benefits of an in-person or telephone consultation to discuss the terms of the agreement and what may be added by way of an addendum. Pipeline right-of-way agreements are an excellent opportunity for landowners to maximize financial compensation for their property, but these agreements must be aggressively negotiated to take advantage of the offer.
Too often property owners misunderstand the size of the pipeline easement they are authorizing. Careful attention must be paid to the size of the permanent easement, temporary easement and temporary workspace easements. Although the pipeline agreement may limit the permanent easement area to 50 or 100 feet, agreement loopholes may authorize workspace easement areas that increase the width of tree clearing by an additional 50 to 100 feet or more. Likewise, Additional Temporary Workspace Easements may be entirely undefined such that there is simply no limit to the amount of property that the pipeline company may use during pipeline installation operations. Sometimes even staging and storage rights are included in the agreements along with unlimited rights of ingress and egress to and from the pipeline easement. Property owners must negotiate to limit the company’s rights and not leave easement areas undefined when executed pipeline agreements. Too many people are simply signing pipeline agreements without having them reviewed by a knowledgeable oil and gas attorney only later to be surprised when pipeline installation and ingress and egress roadway operations are far more impactful than ever contemplated. Do not sign any pipeline agreement without fully understanding the document and negotiating the terms in your favor.
Doug further explains landman and pipeline companies’ tricks of the trade and techniques used to encourage property owners to sign bad agreements without consulting a lawyer. Attorney Clark walks listeners through pipeline provisions in sample agreements and explains how terms such as the identification of the pipeline easement location may have no teeth or legal support in the final document. Doug explains how Pipeline Easement Agreement Exhibit Maps depicting location are often deceiving and how landowners may mistakenly believe they have an agreement on easement location only later to learn they were wrong. It is not the property owner’s belief that counts, it is what is written in black and white in the final executed pipeline contract that prevails.
Doug also explains granting clauses and how landowners often agree to cables, fiber optics, wires, above ground facilities, valves, risers, pig launchers, communication facilities, electric power, compressors and other pipeline appurtenances that were never contemplated as part of the agreement. Doug explains what language landowners should avoid and what to negotiate when considering pipeline right-of-way agreements. Doug emphasizes the benefits of having these pipeline documents reviewed by an experienced lawyer. Too many people are signing bad pipeline agreements and missing out on substantial money in the form of compensation or damage payments. This must stop.
Remember, just because you see buzz words in pipeline agreements does not mean that you have the valuable timber, crop, easement size limitation, location identification, and other valuable terms that you need your agreement. Verbal statements made by the landman do not bind the pipeline company unless those representations are expressly documented in writing in the final pipeline agreement or attached addendum exhibit. Make sure that you contact an oil and gas attorney experienced in easement agreements before signing any pipeline agreement or other natural gas contract. These pipeline easement agreements typically last for centuries and mistakes today will live forever.