Protecting yourself when negotiating a pipeline easement

Posted by iLawyer on Dec 7th, 2021 Eminent Domain, Firm News

Property owners across Texas often feel the presence of the oil and gas industry. Some households own land in areas known to be rich in natural deposits and can potentially negotiate leases for a company that might drill on the land eventually. Other property owners will face claims by oil and gas companies that want to use their property.

Pipeline easements allow the companies that extract or refine oil and gas to transport large amounts of these liquid-state products with less manpower. Rather than buying all of the land that runs along the planned route of a pipeline, oil and gas companies frequently request easements from property owners.

How can you protect yourself when negotiating a pipeline easement with a business?

Learn as much as you can about the project

One of the most important steps you can take is to learn more about the project. For example, many times, infrastructure projects can result in eminent domain proceedings. If homeowners refuse to comply with the business, the Texas courts could force them to grant an easement or even sell their property.

When you know whether or not eminent domain claims could come into play in this situation, you will be in a better position to negotiate. Learning about the timeline for the project, the proposed route and even estimates of what compensation the company has offered other property owners can all help you better negotiate the terms of an easement contract. 

Make sure you include terms to protect yourself

Granting an easement effectively gives someone else long-term access to or control over part of your property. An easement can affect your use of the property and its resale value. There are numerous ways that oil and gas companies could abuse the easement that you grant them if you don’t take steps for your own protection.

For example, you may want to specifically limit the easement to only one pipeline so that they can’t build a second pipeline and double the risk their activities pose to your property. You may also want to limit the company’s ability to transfer or sell the easement so that they can’t just hand those rights over to any other company in the future.

Handling such intense negotiations on your own can be difficult, so you may need to consider bringing in professional help. Having the right information and support will set you up for success while dealing with oil and gas companies that want access to your property.