0 – 15 Minutes
Attorney Doug Clark discusses oil and gas legal representation areas and how he represent his Pennsylvania clients in all matters related to oil and gas law. Doug discusses how he is doing more legal work representing land owners in breach of contract claims and other causes of actions against oil and gas companies.
Doug explains why every time a land owner is presented a document they should see this as a potential opportunity. Property owners and royalty owners must make the most of all opportunities and negotiate all contracts and fight for the highest financial compensation and the most powerful addendum terms that can be added to the agreement to benefit the Lessor/property owner. Remember, quantity of contract addendum terms is not the test, but the quality of the added addendum terms are what matters.
Doug tells a funny story of a landman “walking a razor thin tight rope” and as he claims to be extremely pro-landowner well simultaneously representing the pipeline company. Doug explains how he politely eased the landman’s troubles by explaining that he would ease the landman’s burden because Doug would now start representing the landowner and the landman could now focus on his client (the pipeline company) and not worry about “working for the landowner”.
15 – 30 Minutes
Attorney Clark stresses again how each natural gas agreement or document presented by the oil and gas company or pipeline company may present an outstanding opportunity for the property owner or oil and gas right holder. We must stop Pennsylvania landowners from continuing to sign bad oil and gas agreements. We must stop blindly trusting the gas and pipeline companies and their well-paid landman who represent them. Never forget that the oil and gas agreements are drafted by the company’s lawyers and are written carefully to benefit the gas and pipeline companies, not you. We need to turn the page to make sure that we are signing strong landowner friendly agreements they provide the landowner the most money and best possible property protections.
Doug then discusses a pipeline company’s survey authorization form which would authorize a pipeline company to conduct a variety of surveys on a client’s property. Doug explains this how this simple survey authorization form can be a potential opportunity and what the landowner should be thinking about when requested to provide consent to survey. Doug discusses that if the landowner is going to grant survey permission for a pipeline or any other natural gas projects, the landowner should have a plan what they will do if they are presented with a subsequent pipeline or other gas related agreement. Doug walks through this survey request process and explain how survey permission can lead to future opportunities. However, the property owner must have a plan and strategy in place in order to obtain the best possible pipeline contract with the company. When a landman presents any document or agreement, Doug says to “put your pen down” and listen, then call the Clark law Firm or any other oil and gas attorney that knows what they are doing and who work diligently and fight for the property or royalty owner.
30 – 45 Minutes
Attorney Doug Clark goes very deep and verbatim into a pipeline company’s survey authorization and permission form. Doug explains the process and how the landowner was presented this survey authorization request by the landman. In going through the survey form agreement, Doug explains how the pipeline company and all of their agents, employees, and other representatives are granted permission to enter the property owner’s property at any time to conduct a variety of surveys which include, but are not limited to, civil, land, archaeological, biological, cultural, environmental, geotechnical, and historical surveys. Landowners must understand what types of surveys may be conducted on their property and whether there are any limitations placed on the company representatives who enter your property.
Doug explains that this particular survey authorization form has no limitation as to how long it will last and does not provide the landowner any notice prior to anyone entering the property. The property owner could show up at home and see 10 people or more on their property conducting a variety of surveys. It also does not address how the individuals will travel on the property and whether they will use trucks, ATV’s or whether they will they only walk on the property.
Doug also addresses the indemnification provision in this survey agreement and how all natural gas agreements must have solid indemnification protection before any landowner should even consider executing an agreement with a pipeline or gas company. All property owners must completely shield themselves from potential liability from major industrial operations on their property or even under agreements where there will be little surface activity. Liability protection is of highest priority in all negotiations.
45 – 60 Minutes
Attorney Doug Clark explains the weaknesses in the pipeline company’s survey request an authorization form. The property should negotiate and add additional addendum language that at bare minimum requires notification of at least 24 to 48 hours before anyone enters the property. The landowner should have reasonable expectations of privacy and notice before anyone enters their property.
The property owner also should establish whether surveyors may use pick-up trucks, ATV’s, or other vehicles to enter and travel on the property, or if they are only granted the right to walk on the property. These are also typically easy items to have added into a survey permission form. Of course, a detailed indemnification provision is a must and not agreement should be signed without liability protection. Remember, the gas or pipeline company is asking YOU to sign the agreement, you are not asking them to sign.
The property owner should never sign an open ended survey permission document. It is not reasonable to allow a company to have unlimited access to your property for all times in the future. Survey permission forms should clearly have termination dates when the company may no longer enter the property for surveying. In addition to a termination date, the landowner should have the permission to withdraw survey authority at any time by notification to the company. The property owner must have the contact information for the company conducting the surveys in case the property owner wants to withdraw permission or needs to communicate any problems or issues with surveyors on the property.
Doug goes on a rant of how it is very frustrating when gas and pipeline companies provide landowners documents and contracts that do not contain the companies contact information. What kind of “partner” does not provide their partner their own contact information? Doug explains how he finds it very disturbing that far too often natural gas companies communicate with the property owners, gas right owners, and even the Clark Law Firm and do not provide telephone numbers, e-mail or other contact information. How does a property owner notify the company of any issues or problems if they do not have the company’s telephone number or other contact information? Royalty owners and property owners must make sure that they always have the contact information for the company so that they may report any breach of contract issues or other concerns. The Pennsylvania property owner and royalty owner must aggressively negotiate all natural gas contracts and add a reasonable addendum terms to protect themselves and defend against future problems or issues that are unforeseen at this time. Please do not rely on the gas or pipeline company landman to protect your interest, but secure legal representation from an experienced oil and gas lawyer who is working for YOU and not the company.