Construction of the Matterhorn Express Pipeline appears to be moving forward as the developer group of WhiteWater Midstream LLC, EnLink Midstream, LLC, Devon Energy Corp. and MPLX LP announced that they had made the final investment decision last week.
Although regulatory approvals of the project are still pending, the developers say that the pipeline is expected to be in service by the end of 2024.
What Is the Matterhorn Express Pipeline?
The Matterhorn Express Pipeline is a proposed 490 -mile- long natural gas pipeline that would transport supply from multiple upstream connections in the Permian Basin. The pipeline will include direct connections to processing facilities in the Permian Midland sub-basin, as well as a direct connection to the 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) Agua Blanca Pipeline, which is reportered to be a joint venture between WhiteWater and MPLX.
The 42-inch diameter pipeline is being designed to be capable of transporting up to 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Waha, Texas, to Katy, Texas.
What Does the Matterhorn Express Pipeline Mean for Texas Landowners?
The Matterhorn Express Pipeline will require the acquisition of easements from private landowners along its proposed route. Landowners can expect to receive letters or visits from a land agent in the coming weeks or months.
An easement is a legal agreement that gives the pipeline company the right to build and operate the pipeline on your property. It does not give the company ownership of your land. You will still own your land, but you will have restrictions placed on how you can use it. The pipeline company will need to clear the easement of trees and other obstructions and will need to periodically mow or trim the easement. Often, you will be restricted from building structures or planting permanent crops within the easement.
The pipeline company will also need to have access to your land for construction and maintenance purposes. This means that the company will be ask to enter your land at any time, often without prior notice, for these activities.
Do I Have to Agree to an Easement for the Pipeline?
If you and the pipeline company do not agree on terms for the easement, the pipeline company will likely to use the power of eminent domain to take your property.
Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property for public use. In Texas, state law allows private companies, such as pipeline companies, to use eminent domain if they can show that the taking is for a “public use.”
Get Help Negotiating a Fair Deal for Matterhorn Express Pipeline Easements
While you may not be able to stop the taking of the easement from happening, you can negotiate the terms of the transaction with the pipeline company. It is important to have an eminent domain attorney represent you in these negotiations.
An attorney can help you understand your rights and what the easement will mean for your property. They can also help negotiate the compensation you will receive for the taking of your land.
Waiting until the pipeline company has already filed eminent domain proceedings against you may significantly limit your options. It is wise to contact an attorney as soon as you receive notice that the company is interested in acquiring an easement from you to get good advice during the process.
The attorneys at Dawson & Sodd have decades of experience helping landowners negotiate the best possible terms for their easements and can help you understand your rights and options.
To learn more, please call (214) 373-8181 today for a free consultation.