Highest-producing counties get largest oil and gas property severance taxes

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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va.-(WTAP) Property taxes from oil and gas production are to bring in $96 million to West Virginia's 55 counties.

The figures come from the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, which cites data from the West Virginia Division of Tax and Revenue.

Each county gets a portion of severance tax dollars from fuel production.

The association says property taxes for 2017 are based on pricing levels of 2015.

The top five counties in terms of income include counties heavily involved in oil and gas production. Those closest to our area are Doddridge ($15,165,626) and Wetzel ($15,375,578).

Wood County, where few wells have been explored, ranks much lower.

"There's discussion of the five-year leases people signed up for two, three years ago to hold their oil and gas leasing rights available to a driller," said County Commission President Blair Couch. "Those are set to expire pretty soon, and we'll probably see the drillers re-up that. Hopefully, if the price of natural gas continues to climb, we'll see some wells over here as well."

Distributions for local counties include:

Wood: $176,318
Wirt $165,379
Pleasants: $149,185
Jackson $757,700
Ritchie: $5,993,762

Commissioner Couch says few permits have been filed for wells in Wood County in recent years, and none for the past year.

He hopes the county could benefit from efforts to build pipelines for distribution of oil and gas.