Scott Rotruck
Director of Energy and Transportation Services
A National Energy Plan:
Should We Have One? Do We Have One? If So, Is It Working?

Before ultimately answering the questions posed in the title above on a National Energy Plan, in full disclosure it should be noted that I have been employed by and/or have been an investor in oil, natural gas, coal and solar. The same applies for two railroads, CSX and NS, which hauled a lot of the aforementioned products or their supply chain components to market. Therefore, with this background significantly informing my decisions on energy matters, I fully believe in and have worked and invested in an "All of the Above Energy Strategy."   

This is a strategy to which I typically add the phrasing "and All of the Below Energy Strategy" to underscore my strong admonition against prematurely ruling out energy sources.

Innovation, often quick to the rescue, along with the cumulative significance of continuous improvement, savvy capital and unleashed entrepreneurism, can make the old energy sources renewed and the new energy sources truly revolutionary. The natural gas industry's Shale Revolution, changing our current energy paradigm from scarcity to abundance, is such an example.

But, the question remains. Does the country have an energy policy? Should we have a set policy? And, if we do, is it really working?

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In The News
The Shale Bankruptcy Boom Moves Midstream
Morgantown, W.Va.

The shale boom has given rise to another, less welcome boom: the bankruptcy boom. Thirty-five exploration and production ("E&P") companies sought bankruptcy protection between July 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, and this appears to be only the tip of the iceberg. According to Deloitte, 35 percent of the approximately 175 publicly traded E&P companies, with a total debt of $150+ billion, are at risk of requiring bankruptcy protection within the next year.

Bankruptcy is not a new phenomenon in the oil and gas industry. What is new, however, are the attempts by E&P companies to shed costly gathering agreements with midstream operators that process the gas and bring it to market.

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What's Mine, Is Yours: Adverse Possession Against the Co-Owner in West Virginia
Morgantown, W.Va.

The question of whose land is whose in West Virginia is as old as the Appalachian Mountains. When it comes to natural gas titles and possession, one must take heed.

Adverse possession is a doctrine under which a person in possession of land owned by someone else may acquire valid title to it, so long as certain common law requirements are met, and the adverse possessor is in possession for a sufficient period of time, as defined by a statute of limitations.

The general belief is that one co-owner cannot adversely claim the whole of a property against his co-owner or co-owners. However, there are exceptions in West Virginia.

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Spilman Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers
We are pleased to announce that 38 of the firm's attorneys were recognized by Super Lawyers for 2016. The number of attorneys represents a remarkably high proportion of Spilman honorees when compared to the overall percentage of lawyers recognized within each state. No more than 5 percent of a state's lawyers are named to the Super Lawyers list, and less than 2.5 percent of a state's lawyers are named to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. To learn more about Super Lawyers, click here.
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