After graduating from West Virginia University College of Law in 1984, my first job was as a Corporate Attorney for Bow Valley Petroleum Co., which was a Canadian oil and gas company based in Calgary, Alberta and Denver, Colorado. It was at Bow Valley that I began to develop my expertise in oil and gas law. My duties at Bow Valley included the acquisition and disposition of oil and gas producing properties and the negotiation and settlement of landowner damage claims.
Unfortunately, the gas bubble burst and I left the oil patch for just over two years in 1985. During this time I was engaged in active litigation exclusively in the West Virginia federal courts located in Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Bluefield and Parkersburg. In 1988, I became Corporate Counsel at CNG Development Company, which was the oil and gas exploration and development subsidiary of Consolidated Natural Gas Company, which is now Dominion Resources. At CNG I was involved exclusively in the negotiating and drafting of documents necessary to conduct oil and gas operations. A few examples of these documents include oil and gas leases, assignments, addenda to leases, farmouts, joint operating agreements, rights of way agreements, surface usage agreements, and gas storage leases.
The most important work I did while at CNG was dealing with the owners of the minerals which we were developing and the owners of the surface who did not own the minerals. I am proud to say that while at CNG it was my goal to satisfy all interests involved in developing a producing oil and gas lease. I never hesitated to express my views to management regarding the fair settlement for our use of the land and always considered the impact our operations would have on the environment, both short term and long term.
I left CNG and was employed as a Corporate Attorney for several major international corporations until 2000 when I established my own law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since the inception of my own firm, I have actively engaged in state and federal litigation representing both corporations and individuals. I also have never left my roots in the oil and gas business far behind. I have negotiated oil and gas leases for large corporate entities as well as for single family lease owners. Likewise, I have represented the non-mineral owning surface owners in negotiating a fair settlement for the use of their surface.
With the formation of the ShaleAdvice, LLC, Steve Townsend and I intend to rely on our substantial oil and gas and litigation experience to resolve whatever issue that may arise on behalf of the mineral owners and the non-mineral owning surface owners confronted with the prospect of being affected by the inevitable development of Marcellus Shale resources underlying their land.