Pore Space

Pore Space

Pore SpacePore space is defined in many different ways depending on whether you are a soil scientist, geologist, or an environmental engineer.  As natural resource counsel representing Landowners we are concerned with the open spaces or voids of rock taken collectively.  Typically, this is a measure of the amount of liquid or gas that may be absorbed or yielded by a particular formation.

There is an increasing trend by states to recognize that pore space is owned by the surface owner.  As a matter of fact, some states like Oklahoma have specific statutes that recognize that the pore space is owned by the surface owner.  Texas now provides tax credits to companies that sequester carbon.  As companies look for solutions, they will also look to contractually acquire pore space.  More than likely this will be done subtly.  This has significant ramifications when entering into agreements that have impacts on natural resources (easements, oil and gas leases, sub-surface easements, deeds, etc.) as one does not want to convey away a right that is beginning to have value previously not recognized.

The market for pore space will continue to increase for two significant reasons.  First, as global warming continues to be recognized, CO2 sequestration will increase.  The injection of CO2 into the earth ends up in pore space.  Second, as we continue to see an implosion of oil and gas activity, we also have to deal with produced water (salt water).  It is very common for this salt water to be injected into the pore space.

The law in this area is very undeveloped, but as companies look for environmental solutions to address CO2 and produced water, they will not wait on the law to catch up.  The pore space market continues to grow.  As demand for pore space increases, Landowners will need to be vigilant in making sure they are maximizing returns and being vigilant in protecting this resource.  Here at LandownerFirm, we are committed to helping our clients with this exciting and emerging area of the law.
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