We’ve located information thru LexisNexis Matthew Bender 2011 – West Virginia follows the ownership-in-place theory with respect to mineral interests. (Bogess v. Milam, 34 S.E.2d 267, 269-70 (W. Va. 1945)) West Virginia, however, does not treat an oil and gas lease as bestowing a vested property right until oil or gas is actually discovered on the property:

The title is inchoate [e.g. not yet completed or fully developed] , and for purposes of exploration only until oil is found.

If it is not found, no estate vests in the lessee, and his title, whatever it is, ends when the unsuccessful search is abandoned. If oil is found, then the right to produce becomes a vested right, and the lessee will be protected in exercising it in accordance with the terms and conditions of his contract. (Crawford v. Ritchey, 27 S.E. 220, 223 (W. Va. 1897); see also Arbaugh v. Raines, 184 S.E.2d 620, 623 (W. Va. 1971))

There are no known decisions in which a West Virginia court has considered the enforceability of a consent-to-assign clause in an oil and gas lease.

> SOURCE : Sixty-second Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law (LexisNexis Matthew Bender 2011)

Oil & Gas Drilling in WV – FrackTracker Alliance REFERENCE IMAGE –opens in a separate window

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