What is a Pipeline Right-of-Way?

By definition, a pipeline right-of-way is a strip of land over and around a natural gas pipeline where some of the rights relative to the land have been granted to a pipeline operator. This is generally documented in a right-of-way agreement (also known as an easement) between the pipeline company and the property owner. The easement is usually filed in the County Registrar and Recorder's office along with the deed to the property. The easement gives the pipeline company an interest in the property although, depending on the type of easement, it may be permanent or temporary.

In connection with the Mariner II pipeline, Sunoco has been seeking both permanent and temporary easements in the location where the pipe is to be laid. The purpose of the temporary easement is to grant the company additional workspace for the construction. As the easement agreement dictates the terms of the relationship between the property owner and the pipeline company, it is important that the easement agreement be negotiated by the property owner to best protect his/her future rights and interests in the property. On this basis, we recommend retaining counsel to review the terms of the easement agreement with you and to assist you in negotiating more favorable terms. The easement agreement initially presented by the pipeline company is usually drafted in their favor and offers the property owner limited protections. Through negotiation, more favorable and more protective terms can usually be negotiated for the property owner. This usually helps to better protect the property owner's ongoing rights and interests in the land.

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