Many Marcellus Shale landowners have contacted my office by telephone and through our websites requesting assistance in understanding their currently active oil and gas lease. Due to the large number of requests, I have started performing detailed oil and gas lease reviews for landowners across Pennsylvania who have already entered into an oil and gas leases, but need assistance in understand the terms of their gas lease and what to expect moving forward.
Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania landowners do not fully understand the complicated terms of their existing gas lease. This lack of understanding usually occurs where the landowner entered into an oil and gas lease without the assistance of a lawyer. However, sadly to say, many landowners entered oil and gas leases with the assistance of an attorney who did not fully understand the often complex terms contained in an oil and gas lease.
Over the past few years, countless landowners have told to me that they took their oil and gas lease offer to their “regular” attorney and he or she “looked it over” and said it was “okay to sign.” However, the attorney did no thoroughly review the oil and gas lease with the landowner and did not explain how the gas lease would apply and impact their royalties and property. The end result is that there are thousands of Pennsylvania landowners holding existing oil and gas leases who do not understand the complex or even basic terms of their gas lease. Landowners are not sure where to turn for answers and unfortunately, many are afraid to ask for assistance.
In my experience the following are common oil and gas lease questions:
1.) When will my oil and gas lease will expire;
2.) Can my oil and gas lease be extended by the gas company,
3.) If my oil and gas lease can be extended, on what grounds;
4.) What are pooling and unitization and how may they apply to my property;
5.) What is a top lease, and am I eligible to top lease;
6.) Should I sell my oil, gas, and mineral rights;
7.) How will my potential royalties be calculated;
8.) Will the gas company take post-production cost deductions from my royalty payments;
9.) What does “shut-in” mean and what rights do I have;
10.) What does the “Right of First Refusal” term mean and how may it apply to my gas lease;
11.) Are natural gas pipelines or water lines permitted on my property under the terms of my current oil and gas lease;
12.) Can the gas company construct a well pad or access road on my property;
13.) What does “mutual consent” mean;
14.) When will the gas company test my water;
15.) Can I negotiate future well pad, pipeline, roadway or other agreements in the future;
16.) What am I entitled to as damages if the gas company operates on my property;
Unfortunately, many landowners are unaware of how their existing gas lease operates with respect to extensions, royalties, pipelines, roadways, and many other important issues. It is necessary for landowners to understand the terms of their existing oil and gas lease as this lease may apply to their property throughout their lifetimes and into future generations.
I am now actively conducting oil and gas lease reviews for landowners across Pennsylvania. As part of the lease review process, I answer landowner questions and concerns, explain the terms of the existing gas lease to landowners, and discuss how their lease may operate as it evolves into the production phase and beyond.
Landowners who are interested in this lease review service can contact my office (570- 307-0702) to make arrangements for a lease review and conference. To perform a review I ask that landowners provide a copy of their existing gas lease and any other relevant documentation to my office. We then schedule a telephone conference, or in office conference, to review the oil and gas lease and answer any and all questions and concerns you may have regarding your existing gas lease. Landowners have been very pleased with this lease review process and service.
In my experience, even if the conference confirms their thoughts with respect to potential problems or weaknesses with your oil and gas lease, landowners still have been pleased to know whether your interpretations and understanding of their lease is correct. On the brighter side, often landowners have misinterpreted their current oil and gas lease in a negative fashion and have been very pleased to learn after a lease review and telephone or in-office conference that the situation is not as bleak as they originally thought. Landowners have repeatedly indicated that they prefer to know what they have today so that they can plan appropriately in the future and have realistic expectations regarding the oil and gas lease.
Any landowners interested in a detailed lease review of their existing oil and gas lease should feel free to contact my office at any time at (570) 307-0702. This lease review service has been extremely valuable to many landowners and fills a void for landowners who do not understand the terms of their current oil and gas lease and do not know where to turn for assistance. The lease review process is designed to answer questions and concerns and provide credible information to landowners. Remember, landowner education is key.
Douglas A. Clark, Esq. – Protecting Pennsylvania Landowners
– Douglas A. Clark, Esq.