Page images
PDF
EPUB

sequently, groups of drill holes were placed so as to sample thoroughly small tracts in different parts of the economically important area. In all, 98 drill holes were sunk, admittedly too small a number of tests to establish closely and beyond question the composition and thickness of the ore mantle over an area of 28 square miles; nevertheless, the results obtained are so uniform even in widely separated parts of the deposit that they are believed to indicate, at least roughly, the tonnage and quality of the ore.

Of the 28 square miles of economically important area, only 12 square miles proved to be covered with ore of important thickness. The remaining portions of the deposit are either partly denuded because of the steepness of the slopes or are made up of alluvial-filled valleys in which the ore is contaminated with sand and gravel derived from the parent rock. Drill holes were placed so as to test four widely separated sections of the areas over which the ore mantle is relatively thick and one section in which the ore is thin and discontinuous, the holes in all cases being located at regular intervals, generally at the corners of 1,000-ft. squares. Of the holes located in areas over which the ore is of good depth, 6.8 per cent. fell, upon bare places and encountered no ore; 28.8 per cent. encountered from 2 to 10 ft. of ore; 34.3 per cent. encountered from 10 to 20 ft. of ore; 21.9 per cent. encountered from 20 to 30 ft. of ore; 6.8 per cent. encountered from 30 to 40 ft. of ore; and 1.4 per cent. encountered from 40 to 50 ft. of ore. Of the holes in the poor area, 29.4 per cent. encountered no ore; 58.8 per cent. encountered from 2 to 10 ft. of ore; 5.9 per cent. encountered from 10 to 20 ft. of ore; and 5.9 per cent. encountered from 20 to 30 ft. of ore.

From these figures and the weight of a unit volume of the ore in place it can be calculated that the total economically important metric tonnage is 430,000,000, of which about 375,000,000 tons is contained in that part of the ore mantle which is 10 ft. or more in thickness. Reasonably accessible from the coast, but divided into a number of separate deposits by precipitous valleys, there is 275,000,000 tons of ore, with 260,000,000 tons lying 10 ft. or more deep. Finally, within two areas of ore which could be mined from a base at Dahikan Bay, the most feasible harbor site, there is 138,000,000 tons, 130,000,000 tons of which is more than 10 ft. thick. It should be noted, however, that the bulk of even this most favorably situated ore lies on the tops of hills and broad divides from 400 to 1,000 ft. above sea level and that within each of the two areas near Dahikan Bay there are ravines and denuded slopes which would of necessity be avoided in mining.

(SUBJECT TO REVISION)

DISCUSSION OF THIS PAPER IS INVITED. It should preferably be presented in person at the New York meeting, February, 1916, when an abstract of the paper will be read. If this is impossible, then discussion in writing may be sent to the Editor, American Institute of Mining Engineers, 29 West 39th Street, New York, N. Y., for presentation

by the Secretary or other representative of its author. Unless special arrangement is made, the discussion of this paper will close Apr. 1, 1916. Any discussion offered thereafter should preferably be in the form of a new paper.

Development of the Law Relating to the Use of Gas Compressors in

Natural Gas Production

BY SAMUEL S. WYER, * COLUMBUS, OHIO

(New York Meeting, February, 1916)

The art of natural-gas compressing is now over 25 years old, and has grown at practically the same rate as the increase in domestic naturalgas consumers. There are now over 200 natural-gas compressing stations in North America, aggregating more than 320,000 hp. of compressor capacity and representing a property value of more than $22,000,000, and compressing more than 85 per cent. of all the gas used. The age and magnitude of the art make it evident that the use of gas compressors is a recognized integral part and universal custom of the natural-gas business.

The public also is not without its rights and vital interests in this problem. Approximately 1,700,000 domestic natural-gas consumers in North America are dependent upon gas compressors for their natural-gas service. That is, if the use of compressors were to be prohibited, the majority of these consumers would be unable to secure adequate natural-gas service.

Each consumer represents between four and five persons, and it therefore follows that the comfort and well-being—as far as natural-gas service is concerned—of at least 8,000,000 persons would be affected if the use of natural-gas compressors should be prohibited. These 1,700,000 consumers have invested, in services, house piping, fixtures, and appliances, an average of about $90 each, or an aggregate of $153,000,000, which is much more than the companies' investment in gas compressors. Furthermore, in all cases where the rate paid by the consumers is fair to the gas company-considering the value of the service rendered by the gas company-the consumers are entitled to continued service and protection of the investment they have made on the faith that the gas service would be continued in the future.

Since “Customs adopted and acquiesced in, if not in conflict with federal or State legislation, have the force of positive law,''1 and “Courts will take notice of whatever ought to be generally known within the limits of their jurisdiction," there ought to be no question as to the unqualified right to use gas compressors. However, many small gas-pro

Consulting Engineer.
1 Lindley on Mines, Sec. 271, vol. i, 3rd ed.

ducers, not using gas compressors, have sought to secure permanent injunctions from courts to prevent other gas-producers from using such compressors. This has resulted in much expensive litigation. The following is a chronological arrangement of all the court decisions relating to this question, and shows the logical development of the common law. To expedite cross-reference work, each case is given a serial number; also, abbreviations used in citations are given in full in the accompanying table.

Ch. Div. Chancery Division, British Law Reports.
N. E.

Northeastern Reporter.
Ind.

Indiana Reports. Fed. Rep

Federal Reporter. U. S..

United States Reports. Pa.

.Pennsylvania State Reports. Pac. Rep.

.Pacific Reporter.
S. W. Rep.

Southwestern Reporter.
Ohio State. .Ohio State Reports.
Oklahoma. Oklahoma Reports.
There are four classes of cases, namely, those that relate to:

Common-law rights in use of gas compressors. Nos. 1, 3, 7, 10, 12, 13, 26.

Rights under State laws regulating use of gas compressors. Nos. 4, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20.

Judicial recognition of declining gas volumes. Nos. 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 29,.

Questions of ownership," "possession,” or “right of transportations" of natural gas.

Nos. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

1885

No. 1.–Ballard vs. Tomlinson, 29 Ch. Div. 122.

“The plaintiff, if he has a right to use anything in nature, has the right to exercise that use by all the skill and invention of which man is capable, and seems to me that as long as the plaintiff uses only lawful means as against his neighbor, however ingenious and however artificial those means may be, his right to appropriate the common source is not diminished because he uses the most artificial or the most ingenious methods.” Cited in:

No. 12.-Jones vs. Forest Oil Co., 194 Pa. 379.

1889

No. 2.-State vs. Indiana & Ohio Oil, Gas & Mining Co., Supreme Court of Indiana, 22 N. E. 778.

“Natural gas is as much an article of commerce as iron ore, coal, petroleum, or any other of the like products of the earth. It is a commodity which may be transported, and it is an article which may be bought and sold in the markets of the country.

The power to regulate commerce between the States is exclusively in the federal congress.

An action by congress will not authorize the States to legislate in matters of interstate commerce.” *** Transportation of commercial commodities

2 U. S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Spilman, 155 U. S., 670.

from State to State is interstate commerce, and the State legislatures can neither
burden nor restrict it.” Cited in:
No. 4.-Jamieson vs. Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Co., 128 Ind. 555.

5.—People's Gas Co. vs. Tyner, 131 Ind. 277.
9.—Townsend vs. State, 147 Ind. 624,

15.- Manufacturers' Gas & Oil Co. vs. Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Co., 155 Ind. 545.

18.-Federal Oil Co. vs. Western Oil Co., 121 Fed. Rop. 674.

19.-Richmond Natural Gas Co. vs. Enterprise Nat. Gas Co., Appelate Court of Indiana, 66 N. E. 782.

28.—Haskell vs. Cowham, 187 Fed. Rep. 403.
30. —West vs. Kansas Nat. Gas Co., 221 U. S. 229.

1889

No. 3.-Westmoreland, etc., Co. vs. DeWitt, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 130 Pa. 235.

“Gas, it is true, is a mineral; but it is a mineral with peculiar attributes, which require the application of precedents arising out of ordinary mineral rights, with much more careful consideration of the principles involved than of mere decisions. Water also is a mineral; but the decisions in ordinary cases of mining rights, etc., have never been held as unqualified precedents in regard to flowing, or even to percolating, waters. Water and oil, and still more strongly gas, may be classed by themselves, if the analogy be not too fanciful, as minerals feræ naturæ. In common with animals, and unlike other minerals, they have the power and the tendency to escape without the volition of the owner. Their ‘fugitive and wandering existence within the limits of a particular tract was uncertain' * * * They belong to the owner of the land, and are a part of it, so long as they are on or in and are subject to his control; but when they escape, and go into other land, or come under another's control, the title of the former owner is gone. Possession of the land, therefore, is not necessarily possession of the gas. If an adjoining, or even a distant, owner drills his own land, and taps your gas, so that it comes into his well and under his control, it is no longer yours, but his * one who controls the gas—has it in his grasp, so to speak-is the one who has possession in the legal as well as in the ordinary sense of the word.” Cited in: No. 5.- People's Gas Co. vs. Tyner, 131 Ind. 277.

8.-Brown vs. Spilman, 155 U. S. 665.
9.— Townsend vs. State, 147 Ind. 624.
12.--Jones vs. Forest Oil Co., 194 Pa. 379.
13.-Ohio Oil Co. vs. Indiana, 177 U. S. 190.
25.—Kansas Natural Gas Co. vs. Haskell, 172 Fed. Rep. 545.

[ocr errors]

to the

1891

No. 4.-Jamieson vs. Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Co., Supreme Court of Indiana, 128 Ind. 555.

“The Indiana statute prohibiting the transportation of natural gas through pipes at a greater pressure than 300 lb. per square inch, or otherwise than by its natural flow, is a valid exercise of the police power of the State, since natural gas

is an intrinsically dangerous substance, and the legislature having determined what pressure is reasonable and safe the courts cannot review its action. * * * That natural gas is a dangerous agency is a matter of common knowledge; and hence courts take judicial notice of that fact. We know, as the legislature knew, and as every one knows, that natural gas is in a high degree inflammable and explosive. It would be unreasonable to hold that the courts know judicially that natural gas is a public necessity so far as to warrant the exercise of the right of eminent domain, and yet hold that they do not know that it is inflammable and explosive. Knowing the one thing, they must

*

* *

* * *

right. * * *

know the other. We hold without hesitation that natural gas is so dangerous that its use may be made the subject of a police regulation. Decision after decision recognizes the principle we have stated, and upholds laws regulating the use of property.

The public safety and welfare is the highest consideration in all legislation, and to this consideration private rights must yield. No man has a right to so use a dangerous species of property as to put the safety of others in peril. Liberty does not imply the right of one man to so use property as to endanger the property of others; nor does ownership imply any such right. This is rudimental. It must therefore be true that the owner of property of such a dangerous nature as to require regulation to prevent injury to others can have no right paramount to the police power. It is not too much to say that, as against the police power, there is no such thing as a vested

No investment, however great, can so vest a right as to preclude the just exercise of a great governmental power, such as that under which regulations for the protection of the health and safety of persons are enacted. This principle is supported by many decisions. * * We have already declared that it is a dangerous substance, requiring regulation, and we shall only add to what we have said a quotation from the opinion. * * * 'It was not necessary,' said the court, 'to aver that coal-oil is inflammable, or to prove it. Courts and juries will take cognizance of such matters as are of common knowledge, and pertain to the experience and affairs of almost every man's daily life. Courts do not require proof that fire will burn, or powder explode, or gas illuminate, or that many other processes in nature and art produce certain known effects.'Cited in: No. 5.—People's Gas Co. vs. Tyner, 131 Ind. 277.

9.—Townsend vs. State, 147 Ind. 624.

15.- Manufacturers' Gas & Oil Co. vs. Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Co., 155 Ind. 545.

19.-Richmond Natural Gas Co. vs. Enterprise Natural Gas Co., 66 N. E. 782. (It is important to note that Case No. 19 distinguishes between the use of gas compressors for transporting gas and for pumping wells.)

25.- Kansas Natural Gas Co. vs. Haskell, 172 Fed. Rep. 545.
30.— West vs. Kansas Natural Gas Co., 221 U. S. 229.

1892

No. 5.—People's Gas Co. vs. Tyner, Supreme Court of Indiana, 131 Ind. 277.

"It has been settled in this state that natural gas, when brought to the surface of the earth and placed in pipes for transportation, is property, and may be the subject of interstate commerce. Water, petroleum oil, and gas are generally classed by themselves as minerals possessing in some degree a kindred nature. As to whether the owner of the soil may dig down and divert a well-defined subterranean stream of water, there is much diversity of opinion and conflict in the adjudicated cases; but the authorities agree that the owner of a particular tract of land may sink a well and appropriate to his own use all the percolating water found therein, though it may entirely destroy the well on his neighbor's land. * * * It is a familiar maxim that in contemplation of law, land always extends downward as well as upward, so that whatever is in a direct line between the surface of any land and the center of the earth belongs to the owner of the surface.

When it is once conceded that the owner of the surface has the right to sink a well and draw gas from the lands of an adjoining owner, no valid reason can be given why he may not enlarge his well by the explosion of nitroglycerine therein for the purpose of increasing the flow. The question is not as to the quantity of gas he may take, but it is a question of his right to take the gas at all.” Cites:

No. 2.-State vs. Indiana & Ohio Oil, Gas & Mining Co., Supreme Court of Indiana, 222 N. E. 778.

3.-Westmoreland, etc., Co. vs. DeWitt, 130 Pa. 235. 4.-Jamieson vs. Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Co., 128 Ind. 555.

« PreviousContinue »