Easements: Permanent & Temporary

An easement is the right to use the real property of another, but not possess the property.

Typically in the natural gas pipeline arena, the landowner grants the pipeline company an Easement, or Right-of-Way, to use a portion of a landowner’s property to install one or more pipelines and related facilities. The land burdened by the easement is the “servient estate” and the person or company holding the easement possesses the “dominant estate”. The landowner should always seek to minimize the authority they provide the pipeline company under the terms of any Pipeline Agreement.

Easements can be Permanent or Temporary

Permanent Pipeline Easements – are perpetual and “run with the land” such that they cannot be extinguished by the granting landowner selling or transferring the property to a third party. Landowners should avoid entering into Permanent Pipeline Easement Agreements whenever possible. Generally landowners can negotiate for Pipeline Agreements with termination provisions in place of proposed Permanent Pipeline Easements.

Temporary Pipeline Easements – provide a defined timeframe or set conditions for the termination of the Pipeline Easement. For example, landowners may negotiate for the termination of the Pipeline Easement in the event the easement is not actively used for the transportation of natural gas for a certain number of years.

Although a Temporary Easement may not expire for 50 or 100 years or more, Temporary Pipeline Easement Agreements are always preferred for the landowner. Landowners must always negotiate for temporary Pipeline Easement Agreements whenever possible.