“Very strong bench with a long-established reputation in the oil and gas and coal sectors.  Highly rated for litigation work, including property rights issues and defending corporations against class actions.  Extensive experience advising on regulatory compliance, land acquisitions, production rights, mine safety and pipeline issues.”

– Chambers USA “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (2014 edition)


Bowles Rice has long been recognized as the go-to law firm in the oil and natural gas industry in the Appalachian Basin, serving clients since 1920.  We are proud to represent the owners, operators, suppliers and producers that fuel the Appalachian region’s substantial contributions to our nation’s goal of energy independence.

Today, Bowles Rice attorneys and support staff, with a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations, are practicing throughout the region.  We have offices located in Charleston, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling, West Virginia; Southpointe, Pennsylvania; and Winchester, Virginia.  Several of our attorneys also are admitted to practice in Ohio.  Two of our offices are located along the Ohio border, and three other offices are within an hour’s drive. 

Our clients include:

  • Exploration and production companies
  • Midstream, transportation and service firms
  • Independent power producers
  • Regulated and unregulated public utilities
  • Industrial, chemical and manufacturing companies

We assist in all aspects of development, including strategic planning, business development, financing, acquisition and leasing of mineral interests and pipeline rights of way, title and curative work and permitting of wells.

We have assisted our clients in:

  • Both complex and simple purchase and sale transactions and related financing arrangements
  • Litigation matters involving mineral leases and contract preparation, title disputes, lease violation disputes and production obligations
  • Gas contract litigation matters and litigation arising out of the sale and purchase of oil and gas properties
  • Assistance with the pipeline approval process, rights-of-way, permitting and reclamation issues and negotiations with pipeline companies regarding capacity issues
  • Title examinations
  • Water issues facing the oil and natural gas industry and assistance with evaluation of water guidelines, injection wells, water treatment facilities and proper land application
  • Negotiating and drafting documents relating to the joint operation of oil and gas projects, including joint venture agreements, participation agreements and affiliation agreements
  • Planning, zoning and other land use matters
  • Environmental regulation and compliance
  • Property tax issues

Our experience and understanding of the oil and gas industry has resulted in significant opportunities to demonstrate our thought leadership. Bowles Rice attorneys served as the adjunct professor of “Coal, Oil & Gas” at the West Virginia University College of Law for 30 consecutive years.  And, because of our depth of knowledge and experience in the industry, Bowles Rice was selected to serve as general counsel to the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association. 

Bowles Rice has a highly effective government relations team, available to assist with matters before municipal, state and federal government agencies, as well as assist with drafting and monitoring legislation that may affect the oil and natural gas industry.  We can provide consultation on legislative and regulatory matters, monitor legislation, provide written summaries of legislation, draft bills for introduction, draft amendments and amendments to regulations, prepare written comments, attend hearings related to legislation and regulation, and related matters.

  • Bowles Rice has completed title examinations on thousands of mineral titles and provided title opinions in the tier one Marcellus counties in West Virginia.
  • Bowles Rice represented five of the largest developers of the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania in recent acquisitions.
  • Bowles Rice negotiated on behalf of two of our clients for the sale of approximately 400,000 acres of Marcellus Shale.
  • Bowles Rice served as oil and gas counsel to a top private equity firm in connection with a $350 million investment in a large independent oil and gas producer.
  • Bowles Rice teamed with a large international New York law firm and performed all mineral related due diligence on behalf of an operating company regarding a major transaction involving the potential acquisition of another operating company.
  • Bowles Rice assisted a client in the installation of an extraction facility for the removal of liquids from natural gas.
  • Bowles Rice provided all legal work, including environmental, permitting, property acquisition, and certificate of site approval for Longview Power, Inc. a 695 MW coal-fired power plant being constructed in Morgantown, West Virginia. This is a $1.8 billion plant that will employ 1900 workers.
  • Bowles Rice intervened in two cases before the West Virginia Public Service Commission in an effort to monitor the sale of a public utility in West Virginia and to allow access to West Virginia producers to use an existing interstate pipeline.
  • Bowles Rice is currently working on several title projects and rendering title opinions in several major acquisitions in north-central West Virginia, southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
  • The Bowles Rice title team is assisting several clients, representing nearly 500,000 acres, in mapping the acreage and creating horizontal Marcellus units to maximize production.
  • Bowles Rice is working with a mid-stream pipeline company in right of way acquisition, permitting and transmission agreements.
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