Congratulations on finding us!  If you’re like most of the people who find this website, you didn’t know you owned oil and gas rights until just a few days ago.  You probably didn’t even know what oil and gas rights were.

Then someone either called you out of the blue or sent you a letter explaining that your great-great grandpa owned minerals in West Virginia.  West Virginia?  Where’s that? you probably asked yourself.

That someone (called a landman, as I’m sure they explained to you) went on to explain that your great-great grandpa (or some other ancestor) lived in West Virginia at one point and owned West Virginia mineral rights when he passed away.  Those mineral rights passed down to his heirs, and you are one of his heirs.  You are now the proud, if a little confused, owner of mineral rights in West wherever-that-is Virginia.

To complicate things, the landman is asking you to sign a lease, and maybe an Affidavit of Heirship, and probably a couple other documents related to the lease.

What does this lease say? you’re wondering to yourself.  Am I getting myself into a liability issue?  Are they paying me what it’s worth?  Is fracking OK or am I messing up some poor West Virginian’s life?  Am I the new Jed Clampett?!?

So many questions….so few answers!  Until you found this web site…..

We’re here to help you understand what’s going on.  We’ll answer all those questions and quite a few you didn’t even know you had.

We’ll help you understand what a lease is and how it’s going to affect you.

We’ll help you fell confident that you are doing the right thing, whether that’s ignoring the landman completely or working with the landman to sign a lease and get the rest of your family to sign up, too.

We’ll help you have peace of mind, knowing that you haven’t taken too low a price or gotten yourself into a bad liability situation.

We’ll help you look into the future and predict whether you’re going to be able to retire on your new income or…just be able to buy a burger at McDonalds every once in a while.

We’ll help you decide whether the environmental issues are something for you to consider or not.

We’ll help you know whether to put your mineral rights into a family trust for protection.

We’ll give you some practical advice on how to negotiate with the landman if that’s all you need.

For that matter, we can do all the negotiating for you.  All you’ll ever have to do is sign the final document and mail it back to us.

Whatever it is you need help with, we will do.  We have the experience, the knowledge, the expertise, and the training to take care of all your oil and gas issues.

By the way, we don’t work for the oil and gas companies.  We keep ourselves out of that kind of work so that we don’t have conflicts of interest.


161 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. My siblings and I recently were told by a landman that we each have 1/3 of ½ of 1/3 or 0.44444 acre. in oil/gas rights. My sister and brother hastily signed a lease agreement; I have not signed.

    It then came to my attention that the landman emailed one of my siblings writing: “If ___ chooses not to participate his interest would most likely end up being sold on the court house steps. This would usually take a long time and would require that me or someone with ___would attempt to contact ____ and lease his interest, then outside attorneys working on behalf of ___would attempt to contact ___ and try to get him to lease. If need be the outside Attorneys would file a petition to partition suit in Doddridge County against ___and when that is finalized the Judge would rule whether his interest would be sold to highest bidder or what other remedies that the Judge can choose.”

    Am I right in assuming that this is someone just trying to manipulate me into signing the lease agreement?

    • No. That’s something they can actually do. There are a couple of considerations to take into account here. One is that if you tried to oppose the partition suit you would probably have success. Judge Sweeney is not a huge fan of partition suits, and is likely to side with the mineral owner. However, with 0.44444 net mineral acres, you don’t have a large enough interest to make it worth your while to fight. You’d spend way more money hiring lawyers than you would get back. Generally, I recommend that people in your position just negotiate for as much as they can get and then set it all aside. You can get better terms than your brother and sister got, and make sure your liability is limited as much as can be.

  2. My mother, as survivor of my dad, received a mineral rights lease offer from Antero for .00205949 interest of 14.200 net mineral acres. They are offering a flat rate of $200. It’s a 5 year lease with renewal option if 5 years. In the event it is placed into a pooled unit and drilled, she will receive a 15% royalty. The property is in Doddridge, West Union, Tax Map 8, Parcel 18; etc.
    This was a surprise to her and she actually thought it a scam, so didn’t return the paper by the Dec 21 deadline. I told her I would look into it, but have no clue where to start or if this is an appropriate offer. I did call Antero and have not spoken with anyone- all the phone numbers only allowed leaving a message. I did not call the agent, Andy Poling, because neither the phone number or email were attached to any Antero numbers.
    Any advise will be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Laura. The lease is not a scam. Antero is one of the two big oil and gas producers here in West Virginia, EQT being the other. I’ve negotiated leases with Andy Poling, so he really does work for Antero, assuming nothing has changed since last April. The deadline is not important. They include that in their offer letter to keep someone from coming back to them after prices drop and trying to force them to enter in to a lease at higher prices, and to try to get people to sign quickly without looking at the lease. The $200 is reasonable considering the size of your mother’s interest. 2/1000 of an acre is about 87 square feet, smaller than most bedrooms. That said, they do want to get a lease from you because they’re supposed to before developing the acreage. Try to get as much money up front as you can, as you probably won’t get much in the way of royalties even if the well is a monster. Ask him for $1000 and see where he comes back. If he jumps a lot, he can probably move some more. If not, you’ll have to be patient and say no a lot to get much. Ask for 20% royalty (you’ll probably end up at 18%), and make sure to get gross proceeds. Gross proceeds means they can’t deduct costs of getting the gas from the well to market from your royalty. Also get a Hold Harmless clause and a No Warranty of Title clause from them. That will remove as much liability from you as possible. Liability for signing a lease is pretty low to start with, but those clauses get it awfully close to zero. Also tell them you don’t want to give them Coal Bed Methane, Storage Rights, or the right to use the property for injection wells or disposal wells. All the changes, by the way, will be made in an Addendum, and that’s OK. While you have him talking to you, get a map of the property so that you can figure out where it is, and try to get a copy of the deed/will or whatever it was that gave your mother an interest in the property. The more you know the better.

  3. Leased our mineral rights on 129 acres in Jefferson county Ohio in 2008 with other family members. Each member had their own contract. Our part is 8.33% for royalties (no production yet). Our annual rent was $1077 each year. (shut in rental is $10 per acre). Five year term lease. On year 6,2013 we received 5 times the amount from Hess, then the following years $1041ea year from Utica then Ascent. I assume it will need to be renewed again in 2018. Is it possible to get more for a renewal now that rights are worth more. Original lease is worded “Lessee may exercise this option to extend if on or before exp date of primary term…..Lessee pays an amount per net acre covered under that certain un recorded Bonus and Rental agreement of even date here of. This lease was sold to Hess, then Utica then to Ascent, they took the original leases of each 15 family members, and divided each by our percentage of royals. We now get 15 small checks each year dated on the individual signed contract dates instead of the one check we use to get on our Nov lease date, and yes it adds up to about $35 dollars less.

    • I’m not licensed in Ohio, so I can’t give legal advice there. If you’d like to call the office we can give you the names of some attorneys we’ve sent people to before. We haven’t heard any complaints back yet, so we suspect they’re at least marginally competent. 304-473-1403.

  4. There are about 15-20 of us that inherited mineral rights on about 74 acres in Tyler County and EQT says they want to come at our property “sideways”. They want each of us to sign 3 leases and they say they will pay each of us $200 per lease. Some have already signed their documents but most of us are still holding out. The leases also state that for all wells drilled on or after the date of the lease that they will pay a royalty of one eighth of the net proceeds realized from the sale of all oil produced and sold from the premises. Would we be crazy to ask for at least a few thousand per lease, per person?

    • Hi Sandra. Definitely ask for more. I could give you some specific advice if I knew how many acres you had, but in general leases are getting about $4K/acre up in Tyler right now. If you have a little tiny net mineral acreage (and since you have been offered $200 per lease you probably do) then working with them on a per lease basis will probably net you more dollars. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a few thousand dollars per lease. Also make sure to get as much in the way of royalty as you can. Usually you can negotiate up to 18%. Start at 20%. Get a No Warranty of Title and an Indemnification clause, and ask for no coal bed methane, no storage rights, no injection wells, and no disposal wells. Good luck, and if you want some specific advice on your leases, call the office and set up an initial consultation. We charge $200 for that. 304-473-1403.

  5. Hello,
    I received a letter addressed to my mother (deceased in 2003) from Country Roads Minerals re: a 2.6 net acre oil and gas mineral interest which she inherited from an aunt. They are offering $6,500.00 to purchase the interest. My brother and I are the only heirs.

    I have no idea where to begin with this, so any guidance would be appreciated.

    Thanks – Linda

    • Hi Linda. I usually recommend that you don’t sell. However, if there’s something important you could do with the cash right now, then go ahead and sell. Ask yourself, “can I put that money to good use right now, or am I in a good position to hold on to a long-term, speculative investment?” When you know the answer to that question, you’ll know what to do. If you do decide to sell, get more money than they’ve offered. Also, we can act as a broker, holding on to the signed deed until their check clears, and we can put you in touch with other buyers and see if they can pay you more. Call if you decide to sell. 304-473-1403.

  6. Here is another question concerning our mineral rights. I can find next to nothing about the company (Relique Energy in Morgantown) that the landman represents. I am sure he is offering us a low price, so he can sell to a larger company. (He insists we need to have this done by the end of the year.) Is it better to deal with a landman or should we deal directly with the company? And, what companies are actually leasing and drilling in the PawPaw District in Marion County?

    • Relique is relatively new to the area. They’re small, and can’t offer the prices that some of the more established companies can right now. But if they’re the only company making you an offer, then that’s what you have to work with. You can deal with either the landman or Relique. You’ll get the same deal either way. Most oil and gas producers use lease brokers, companies that acquire leases for other companies, just FYI. Right now, EQT and Antero should still be working in Marion County. Of course, this is now 2018, and new budgets have been put into effect, and some of the companies may be working in new areas and pulling out of old areas. Good luck!

  7. Surprise! Learned 5 years ago we own a percentage of O&G rights in Mannington District. It seems this is not on the tax listings. We secured a 5-yr lease with what is now EQT, and they have now renewed their lease. My questions: Is it necessary that we re-enter the mineral rights on the tax listings? How complicated is it to do so? Do we need an attorney? If EQT is happy, should we just be happy? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Madelon. If you want to completely protect your interest from being accidentally lost, then you should have it entered on the tax rolls in your name. However, some counties require an attorney to be involved in getting the title work done before they enter a new interest on the tax rolls. You should call Marion County and find out. If you have a very small mineral interest it may not be worth it to spend money to get it done. Good luck, and call us if you need any help.

      • Thank you for your response — very much appreciated! And please forgive a follow-up question: You say a ‘very small…interest…’ 4 siblings own an undivided 1/2 interest in 53.35 acres. So the present question: Is this worth spending money to get it done?

  8. Kyle,
    Ten years ago some of us signed a mineral rights lease with WACO (now EXXON or XTO) for 5 years. We got a laughable amount of money a year. It all ended after 5 years. And, there was no leasing bonus! After the lease was up, I wrote to XTO to see what the next step was. I never heard from them. We just let it all go. NOW, we are being pursued by a landman from another company. He says he will lease it for $1500 an acre at 14% royalties. We don’t want to make another similar mistake. Are we really free from that first lease? According to what I have been reading here, that is a low ball price for 86 acres in the PawPaw District, Marion County, WV. We know nothing about the company which was recently formed about 5 years ago, and would need someone to look at the lease BEFORE we sign this time. What is you take on this??

    • Good questions. Technically, that old lease should be “released”. In other words, the company that had the lease when it expired should have filed a release of lease at the courthouse. In reality, hardly anybody files a release of lease unless the mineral owner requests it. So a landman seeing an old lease will simply note it in their records and later check to see if there’s a producing well on the property. $1500/acre and 14% royalties are low for Marion County. Somewhere in the $3K-$4K/acre range and 18% royalties are much more common for a negotiated lease there. Your mileage may vary, depending on the specific location of the property and how many companies are working in the area.

  9. My brothers and I inherited 8 acres of mineral rights only [not surface property] located in Green District, Wetzel County and have been offered $4,000 per acre/18% royalty to lease or, $6,000/acre to sell all thru a land man representing EQT. We live in Ohio and are inclined to sell just to rid ourselves of any future liabilities or entanglements. We don’t know the ins and outs. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Michael. You can get rid of liabilities for the most part. As far as entanglements, as long as you own this mineral right and as long as natural gas is being used somewhere in the world you will probably have a landman asking you for a lease or sale. If you just don’t want to deal with that, then selling is the best course of action. I generally recommend people keep their mineral rights as they should be more valuable in the long run than they will be in a one-time sale. If money is not the greatest consideration for you, then sell. If you want to hold on to a long-term, speculative investment, then don’t sell. Eight acres in the control of one family is good. As you can see for yourself, you can get $36,000 to sign a lease, and maybe more. The royalties could be considerable if it’s produced someday. If this lease expires you could end up getting another signing bonus, and another, and another. If you’d like some specific advice, give the office a call and set up an initial consultation. We do those for $200, and I’ll help you decide what’s best for your situation. 304-473-1403.

  10. Hi Mr Nuttall — Our family has some mineral rights in Harrison County. Do you know when in time the mineral rights separated from the land ownership?

    • No. Most likely it was sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s, but it could have been at almost any time. You would have to do some research at the courthouse to be sure.

      • Hi I inherited 996 leased acres and 66 producing wells in Lewis and Gilmer county wv. I would like to sell them since I live in Florida and no nothing about natural gas. Who should I contact? Thanks Mechelle

        • Hi Mechelle. We should probably talk about the particulars of your situation. There are a couple people and a couple of companies I know who might be interested in purchasing those kinds of rights, but it’s an unusual situation and you’ll definitely want some help. Give me a call at 304-473-1403.

  11. I am negotiating with DPS (Tug Hill) on Birch Ridge in Marshall County. I have them at $4000 per acre at 18% royalty on 327 acres, split between various heirs. They are offering $10 per acre shut in. Does that amount for shut in royalty sound fair enough for this area ?

    • If you guys control all 327 acres then you can probably do better than $4000 per acre. Tug Hill is going to hate me for saying so, but I’ve seen deals finalized at $6500 per acre in Marshall recently. Those are pretty high prices in West Virginia, so they may not last long, but if you can get more money for the same thing, you should get more money.

      Also if you guys control that much property then you should be getting some other things, such as a Pugh clause, termination language, and some other fun things.

      On the shut-in, most companies will go up to $25 without much argument.

      • Thanks so much for your reply. The acreage is in several contiguous separate tracts and I wondered if I should seek to have each tract leased separately, or let them unitize them all into one.

  12. I have an interest in oil and gas leases with XTO on approximately 8 acres in Marion County. These are 5 year leases signed about 1 year ago. Recently, XTO has offered to but all or part of the leases, offering $6,000 per acre. I have no basis of comparison to determine if this is a good price. Also, I have no idea what a going rate for royalties might be. What is the best way to determine how I can get the best deal, sell all or part, and how to counter the offer.

    • $6,000 per acre isn’t bad, but if that’s their first offer you can certainly do better. To give some perspective, people are signing new leases for as much as $4,500 per acre in Marion County right now. In Marshall County, they are signing new leases for $6,500 per acre. I don’t think I would sell mineral rights in Marion County right now for less than $8,000 per acre. Whether XTO will buy them for that is a different story, of course. As to whether you should sell or not, this post from earlier this year should help, as should this post from 2015. If you’d like some help with the decision, give the office a call and we’ll talk you through it. 304-473-1403.

        • Antero and EQT, if you can get them into a bidding war on property in the western part of the county. The eastern part of the county is a different situation. Of course, this is now 2018 and budgets and priorities may have changed. Relique and Northeast Natural Energy have expressed interest is some of the northern parts of the county bordering Monongalia County. It all depends on where exactly the mineral rights are located.

  13. I have another question about a lease that was signed about 5 years ago in Mannington WV. We found out through an oil and gas company that my siblings and I owned mineral rights on 66 acres in Warriors Fork. Not knowing anything about what was going on with royalties and our rights we all signed the lease. We were never offered royalties and really did not understand what we were signing. Is there anything we can do to renegotiate this lease? It is a 5-year lease with their option to renew after that for another 5 years and on and on. Did we sign away all rights to these mineral rights?

  14. I have a oil and gas lease with exco resources and I want out of it……they haven’t been paying the required shut in fee of $2/acre per year…..they sent me a letter stating that they would no longer be sending checks out until they reach $500+…..would that be a viable reason for a court to end a lease? thank you

    • I’m assuming that your lease is for property in West Virginia. The law in WV says that after 2 years of no production and no payments a lease is presumed to be expired. Unfortunately, shut-in royalty payments count as payments. However, a letter saying they will pay when payments equal $500 shouldn’t count. Sounds like you ought to give us a call and we can talk about the situation in more detail.

  15. I have a question about a gas well on our property that has been abandoned. We bought this property in Marion Co 24 years ago. Mineral rights were not included but there was a lease on our property for this well. Lease was from 1894 and stated if there was no production for a year the lease would be null and void. There has been no pumpjack for at least 7 years. We have been approached by several companies for (we are assuming) renegotiation of this lease. I found out the owner of the well but we are confused as what to do. We were offered $400.00 and 14% royalties. How can that be if we do not own mineral rights? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Usually you only get offers for leases if you own the minerals. The fact that you’re getting offers makes me think two things: 1) you actually do own the minerals, or 2) there is something pretty obscure in the chain of title that these companies are misunderstanding, so that they think you own minerals when a closer inspection of the paperwork would show otherwise. Either way, $400 and 14% royalties is really low. Marion County property on the east side of I-79 should go for at least $1000/acre, and over near and west of Mannington you should be able to get up to $4000/acre. Now, if you do own mineral rights and the well hasn’t produced in years you should file an Affidavit of Non-Production at the courthouse. That will let anyone who might think about putting that old well back into production know that you consider that 1894 lease to have expired, and if someone does put it back into production you will have a paper trail showing the court that the lease had expired as of the date you filed the Affidavit.

      • Thank you so much for your reply and suggestion to file an affidavit. My only other question is how could we find out for certain if we do own mineral rights?

  16. Kyle,

    Are your thoughts on EQT still that they are bad to deal with? My father received an offer from them.

    What is the going rate for a bonus and percentage in Mannington, WV?


    • I prefer not to deal with EQT if I can avoid it, but if that’s who wants to lease from you then that’s who you deal with. I’d negotiate up to, maybe, $4000/acre and 18% in Mannington District of Marion County. Good luck, and call us if you’d like a little more help.

  17. During leasing of mineral rights we found out that land we have been paying all the taxes on had two other heirs. What is the best way to go about splitting the land so they are responsible for the taxes on the rights they own? Contacting and asking to help pay their share hasn’t worked.

    • Typically, the county assessor is going to require you to get an attorney to prove the ownership and draft a letter to them in order to officially split the ownership up.

  18. Hi Kyle. I own .4317 net mineral acres of a 47 acre plot that is in Tyler Cty WV. This is a new lease and they are only offering $1500 per acre bonus and royalty payments at state minimum of 12.5%. Do I have any negotiating power with such a small ownership? If so, could I negotiate for just myself if everyone else agrees to current terms offer?

    • $1500/acre is really low in Tyler County. You should get about $4500/acre, which would net you about $1,942. The royalty should end up at 18%. You can get a few nice changes, including limiting liability and making sure you’re paid for all the gas that comes out of the ground. Good luck, and call us if you’d like a little more help.

  19. My family is in contact with a land man in WV. I received paperwork today about the lease of our inherited mineral rights. It says over 100 acres of mineral rights in the Mannington district of Marion county. I have no clue what the value of this is. They are offering $200 to lease it for 5 years. I have read it is best not to sell mineral rights, but is this a fair value for a 5 year lease???

    • You probably own a very small part of the 100 acres. Usually, when we see a $200 offer, it’s because the owner has a couple tenths of an acre at most. You can negotiate for a few things, including a larger up-front bonus and a larger royalty, and you can get rid of any liability issues. There are usually a few other things you can get them to agree to, as well. Good luck, and call the office if you’d like some help.

  20. My sisters and I inherited oil , gas and mineral rigjts in WVa. Are these of any value? We have been contacted by a title company interested in buying. We would like to sell, but would like to know the real value first. Where can i find this information?

    • They are probably valuable. It kind of depends on where they are located. If it’s the northern or north-central part of WV, then they are definitely valuable. Other parts of the state may or may not hold much value, and it’s going to vary a lot. Out in the eastern panhandle there’s probably no oil or gas. Northern panhandle has lots, but is probably leased up, making the immediate value in dollars and cents not as high. Western part of the state may have Rogersville shale potential, but that’s years away from being developed. Southern part of the state may have oil and gas potential, but nobody’s interested right now.

  21. I received a letter and documents (dated 6/12) about some land I have apparently inherited. This was from BB Land wanting to lease our rights for drilling purposes. My sister also received the same thing. This is from a distant relative through my mother’s side (mother died 10/14/79) – this is the first time we’ve heard anything about this. I emailed the lawyer back saying both my sister and I would like to gather more information before proceeding.
    Last week we both received info on a civil suit being filed by BB Land, we are one of many defendants. The language is as follows:
    “In the name of the state of West Virginia, you are hereby Summoned and required to serve upon William Crichton V, Counsel for Petitioner, whose address is 325 9th Street, Parkersburg, WV 26101, an answer including any related counterclaim you may have to the complaint filed against you in the above styled civil action, a true copy of which is herewith delivered to you. You are required to serve your answer within 30 days after service of this summons upon you.”
    We have no idea what to make of all this – any help would be appreciated!

    • In order to develop any given tract of land in West Virginia for oil and gas production, the developer has to have a lease on every portion of the oil and gas. You own ones of those portions and haven’t leased to them yet. They’re getting to the point where they have to get a lease from you or it’s going to hold up their development schedule. In order to put a lease on your portion of the oil and gas they are going to the courts. They will ask that your portion be sold on the courthouse steps and they will buy it (usually). Once it’s owned by someone else they will get a lease on it. However, if you reach out them they’ll be glad to talk to you. They would rather get a lease from you than go through a partition suit. As long as the lease negotiation takes less time than the partition suit, they’ll sign a lease with you. We’ve worked with BB Land and Chrichton & Crichton before. It can be done.

  22. My family was recently contacted by a Landman regarding inheritance of Oil & Gas rights on a tract of land. We also discovered that there was another, larger tract of land our family inherited from the same ancestor but someone contacted only one of the heirs (out of 5) about 30 years ago and they deeded over a portion of their rights. I searched the name of the purchaser and found the OG rights passed through their family and has since had a lease signed on it. All the documents appear as though they have full ownership of acreage and OG rights. Is there recourse? If so, is this something an oil and gas attorney can handle or do I need another type of attorney?

    • One owner can’t sell the other owners’ interests in oil and gas. There are not exceptions to that rule. Those interests could have been sold for back property taxes or something, but the sale of one portion does not give ownership of the other four. We can help you dig deeper and find out what happened. Sure hope you still own it, that would be great.

  23. A lawyer called my sister and said we inherited mineral rights I’n west Virginia and sent her a afedaved of air and said a land man would contact us that was couple months ago how can i find out how many acres it is and what should i do

    • Give the landman a call. Sometimes landmen are pretty busy so if you don’t get an answer right back keep trying. If that doesn’t work call the company they work for and see if they’re still interested in that tract. Sometimes they lose interest. Sometimes they are working on clearing up the ownership before sending leases out to everyone. Sometimes they will have determined that you don’t actually own what they initially thought you did. Good luck.

  24. We were contacted by a landman about some property in Marshall County WV that our family owned. There are thirty family members involved and the landman says that all thirty family members need to sign the lease agreement or they will walk away and give us nothing. Do they need all of the family members to sign a lease to drill on the property? Is this common practice to insist that all family member sign? Thanks.

    • That’s actually an uncommon way of doing things. It makes some sense from the point of view of the company, as it keeps them from getting held up by one out of thirty. I haven’t heard of a company taking this tact before, however. Which company is it, if you don’t mind?

  25. We have recently been contacted by a landman that we are heirs to some mineral rights in Marshall county. I am voicing my exceptions to some of the lease terms and conditions, but am trying to get a ballpark cost for a West Virginia oil and gas lawyer to review the lease after the changes are made so I can let the landman know I wish to increase the bonus amount by my expected legal costs and give him and idea of what those costs will be.

    Thank you.

    • We offer an initial consultation for $200. During that initial consultation we’ll cover a lot of ground, including the bonus amount for the area and the royalty amount you should expect. We’ll talk about how to limit your liability, how to get the most money, how to limit the company’s ability to extend the life of the lease unnecessarily, and answer any and all questions you have. We’ll send you a handbook that covers all this so you don’t have to rely on your notes and your memory of the conversation. At the end we’ll talk about whether it makes sense for you to hire us to negotiate for you or not. For most of the people I talk to, it actually doesn’t make sense to hire us to negotiate, but you may be the exception that proves the rule. I sure hope so. Give us a call at 304-473-1403.

  26. My mother owns fractional gas rights along with extended family members inherited from my great grandfather’s farm in West Virginia, Upshur county. She has been receiving small checks for decades from 2 wells with another one inactive. To avoid will/probate issues she wishes to transfer her rights to me now. We both live outside of West Virginia. She holds no paperwork only the Last Will of my great grandfather naming her (and others) for the mineral rights ownership.
    How do we proceed from here to transfer rights to me?

    • If you want to avoid a will/probate scenario the only other option is to transfer it by deed. We would use a quit claim deed. The most common challenge in these situations is identifying the property well enough to satisfy the needs of a deed. Your great-grandfather’s will is a good step that direction. We would take his name and check the Upshur County records to determine what he owned and (hopefully) identify the tract. Alternatively, we would contact the company that has been sending you checks and ask them to provide us a copy of the old lease, which would provide us with the info we need to identify the tract. Then we would create a deed, have your mother sign it, and file it at the courthouse. If you would like help with all of this, give the office a call at 304-473-1403.

  27. Just like your welcome page stated – we received news that we own mineral rights we didn’t even know existed. We received a lease via FedEx over the weekend and are on a steep learning curve. Can you recommend any good oil and gas attorneys in Ohio (near Columbus preferably) that specifically have dealt with Antero? Coincidentally and lucky for us, my brother is a petroleum engineer who has transplanted from Ohio to Texas and he’s been a wealth of information. But in negotiating with Antero I think it would be important to have a lawyer familiar with them and the area – which is Noble County, Ohio. Any tips you have would be appreciated. This forum is amazing, by the way – great information!

    • If you could call the office at 304-473-1403 we can put some attorneys in contact with you. We’re not licensed to work in Ohio ourselves, but we’ve dealt with some who are over the years and can help you figure out who will work best for you.

  28. Kyle, what kind of natural gas price point would it take to see drilling and leasing activity extend beyond the current core in wv? say, if we got to $4, would we see action in gilmer, calhoun, lewis, barbour, western ritchie, etc?

    I know this isn’t an easy one to answer. maybe it could make for an interesting blog post on the site? i’m a pretty serious devotee to your writing on here. thanks for all the great marcellus info over the years.

    • It is hard to answer. I’ve speculated quite a number of times on this. Based off the last time, I’d say it would have to hit at least $4.00/MMBtu for an extended period of time before development pushed into most of the counties you’ve listed. That said, Antero has pushed into western Monongalia and Marion counties, areas they were completely disinterested in previously. As time passes, the marginal areas are going to become more and more interesting, even at lower prices. By the way, I don’t expect to see 4.00/MMBtu within the next couple of years. Maybe once that cracker plant in PA gets finished…..

  29. Antero has offered up a “Gross Proceeds at Wellhead” clause based upon MMBTU value. I know what BTU’s are but is there a hidden agenda here using this method ? Other than Antero, does the State verify this value ? How would the mineral owner verify this value at any given time to ensure no corporate hanky-panky? Trust but verify !!

    • Antero’s Gross Proceeds at the Wellhead clause is the one I prefer from them. It’s clear that no post-production costs are allowed. The State does not verify the BTU count. The State requires reporting in MCFs. Usually you will come out ahead with BTUs because the company will apply a multiplier to the MCF number (1.12 x 1000MCFs = 1,120 BTUs, for example) to take into account the amount of energy in the gas. However, unless you audit them, you can’t be sure that the BTU multiplier is accurate. Get an audit clause in your lease, then go audit them if their numbers seem off to you.

  30. Would the threat of selling our minerals to a third party, e.g., on “US Minerals” Forum be an effective tactic against Antero’s take it or leave it negotiating tactics.

  31. After a 6 mo. Antero “blackout” from negotiations over our 2.2 net acres in Doddridge, we recently received a call from Antero’s lawyer attempting to “cherry pick” our counter offer. As justification for low balling us on the bonus amount ($2,000 / acre) he presented us with 2 documents from Dodd Cty Circuit Ct. titled: COMMISSIONERS’ FINDINGS OF FAIR MARKET VALUE, both showing a finding of $2,000/acre fair value for minerals dtd Feb. 2017. So I have 3 questions:

    1. What should I use to counter FMV argument ?
    2. Are we close to partition since we are dealing with the lawyer vice landwoman?
    3. How can I avoid court action but not surrender my minerals to “Ant” ?


    • The Fair Market Value they provided was from a partition suit. Usually partition suits are not argued heavily, and the commissioner in charge of the property doesn’t fight for a really high price for the minerals. Doddridge County minerals should lease for $2500-$3000/acre. You are probably close to partition, but as long as you seem to be attempting to negotiate with them in good faith they’ll continue to negotiate a lease with you. There is no way to avoid court action if Antero decides to pursue court action. You could fight the court action, but that would require hiring a lawyer. You could ignore the court action, but you would end up losing the mineral rights. You can negotiate for a better lease, get some money and maybe some royalties, and keep the mineral rights. I think that’s the better option here.

  32. Hello,
    My family and I were recently contacted by a land man from Antero Resources, who says that each of the 4 of us has inherited 12.5 per cent mineral rights in Tyler County Wv. We were sent a lease that offers no bonus, and has no royalty clause. I’m concerned about the language in the lease, and none of us have signed it as of yet. What should we do next?

    • You may have a modification of an old lease. It sounds like you should get some clarification from the landman. S/he should be able to spend some time explaining in more detail exactly what’s going on. Once you have all the info you can get from the landman, call the office, send us your documents, and we’ll figure out what’s going on.

  33. Hi I got a question is there anyway to get my ex husband off the oil lease the land is in my name n I just got remarried

    • If you have all of the ownership, then you should let the company know that. There’s no way to have his name removed from the documents that are filed at the county recorder’s office, but the company can update their records to make sure he doesn’t get any checks. The company will require documentation showing that he should be removed, and it’ll probably take a couple months of back and forth between you and the company, but it can be done.

  34. Kyle,
    We have a OGM lease with Antero that looks like it will expire this summer before drilling commences as they have not applied for a permit yet. What is the exact point in process that defines “drilling operations” as described in lease:

    a) as long thereafter as oil and gas, or either of them, is produced from the land or from lands pooled therewith, or drilling operations are continuously prosecuted as hereinafter provided, or this lease is otherwise maintained in effect pursuant to the provisions hereof;

    and how would a lease renewal work? There is a right of first refusal clause. The initial lease was for $2,500 an acre and 16% royalty. If Antero chose to renew would that be renegotiated? Acreage in Clay district, Ritchie County close to Beason Run.

  35. We own minerals in Wetzel county and are being offered $4,500 an acre to lease. I have negotiated everything else I wanted in the lease but think we could still get more per acre, what are your thoughts?

    • That’s actually a pretty good price per acre. You might be able to push them a little more, though. Since you’ve gotten everything you think you want in a lease already, you can tell the landman that you’re ready to sign, you just want $5,000 an acre. Or $6,000 and acre, or whatever you feel like. If you have a large percentage of a large tract that they really want you will be able to ask for a lot.

      • The landman is telling me that we only have 25 acres and $5,000 is the top $$ they will go. Does that make sense to you in our area? I know other companies are leasing as well but they are pushy that is for sure.

        • Yep. Actually, having 25 acres is a pretty good situation compared to a lot of people that we help. You’d be shocked how many have 0.2 net mineral acres or so. $5000 is good, but you can always try to push them for more. Don’t forget, the other terms in the lease are important. You want to make sure you avoid any possible liabilities, make sure the lease will expire when you think it will, and that you keep as much of the royalty as possible. They may be pushy because of the other companies. It’s possible that they know other companies are interested in your property and they want to tie you up before you can get them into a bidding war.

  36. My grandmother owns 118 plus acres of oil and gas rights in Tyler county. She recently passed away without leaving any of it in her will. Who will the property be transferred to or will it be? How much would you say rights in Tyler county have been going for lately if sold our leased and which would you recommend?

    • Those are some really big questions that depend a lot on the specific circumstances. In general, intestacy law is going to apply to the inheritance, and generally it goes to her kids and any of her kids who have heirs. Regarding selling vs. leasing, I generally recommend leasing. The amount of money you get from the land over time should be more than what you will get from selling. You should be able to lease for about $4000/acre and 18% royalty in Tyler, or sell for about $6000/acre. This is not the best format for discussing questions like yours, unfortunately. Give the office a call and let’s talk on the phone. 304-473-1403.

  37. Mr. Nuttall: I received agreements for five different tracts totalling over several hundred acres in Wetzel County. I surmise from the bonuses offered that I have a rather puny net mineral interest (for example, $80 for a 175-acre tract). I have ‘negotiated’ a no warranty clause, an indemnification clause, and a royalty of 18% from the original 12.5%. But, the company says no way, nada, ain’t gonna happen to gross proceeds. Is it because I own such a small interest in this case or are some companies just flat out not negotiating gross proceeds? (I didn’t even know I owned part of this land until recently, live outside WV, and figure with such a small net interest the leases would likely be worth next to nothing for me, especially without gross proceeds.)

    • It does sound like you have a pretty small net mineral interest. However, verify your net before you sign. That’s information that is vital to you and easy for the landman to provide.
      It sounds like you’re dealing with EQT. Pretty much every other company is willing to pay gross proceeds. You’ll have to fight forever to get EQT to provide you with something similar. One thing I’ve seen them do recently is cap their post-production costs at $.80 per MCF. You might ask for that. The other things I’ve seen them do once was set the price equal to that paid for other gas put into the transmission system in the area. Good luck!

  38. We signed a lease with EQT in Wetzel Co 4 months ago and was supposed to get bonus on 11 Mar but now they said they couldn’t find the way the heir ship goes and want us to sign a affidavit of heir ship but we had warranty of title put in the lease so should we sign please help soon.

    • An Affidavit of Heirship is only listing and detailing the heirs of an individual. If you can personally vouch that all the information on the Affidavit is correct, then you can sign it. If not, you should either verify for yourself that all the information is correct or you should tell the landman you are not going to sign it. You should take this position even if you promised in the lease to sign documents to clear up the chain of title. It’s not reasonable for them to expect you to sign something that is incorrect. The Affidavit will be placed of record in the County Clerk’s office. Other people will rely on the Affidavit to determine who inherits the oil and gas. You don’t want to be responsible for any mistakes in the Affidavit. Similarly, if the Affidavit is going to change your ownership in the minerals, take a real close look at the information provided in the Affidavit to be sure it’s correct.

  39. We have a landman contacting folks here in cabell cnty. He’s offering what amounts to $5 per acre for 5 year leases is there any movement in this area or is this just the going rate for locking up rights for them to market at higher values to other companies?

    • Cabell County isn’t hot right now. I would definitely talk with the landman, find out why he is trying to get leases, which formation(s) he is after, and maybe sign a lease if he was willing to limit the lease to a specific formation or group of formations. I wouldn’t under any circumstances sign up at $5/acre, though. Hot or not, there’s gas in Cabell County that will be far more valuable than that eventually.

      • Ok, thanks. We did this years ago with Cabot for about the same $/acre but nothing ever came out of that. I just don’t wanna pass up what appears to be the only game in town.

  40. The mineral rights are through my mothers side of the family. My mother divorced my father when we were young and remarried 30 years ago. She passed away a few years ago but the new husband is alive. There was no will left by my mother. Do the mineral rights go to the new husband or to the children of my mother?

    • If I remember my intestate law correctly, it will be split 50/50 between the surviving spouse and the children of the previous spouse. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s been a while since I brushed up on the intricacies of intestate law.

  41. I live in Jackson Co WV. When we purchased property lawyers did a deed search and we were told we owned all mineral rights. We were then sued by Cabot for refusing to let let deep drill on our property for over $2 million dollars. We won on where the site would go and it’s not in my front yard. Everyone else got some sort of monetary value out of it but we were never offered anything. How do I found out who really owns the rights and if I do what can I do to get what’s owed to us.

    • It sounds like you’ll need to have a title search done. It sounds like you’re hinting at the fact that some or most of the minerals are owned by other people. If that’s the case, they probably inherited the mineral rights, and there are probably quite a few owners. The good news is that since you have a copy of the complaint and other documents from the lawsuit you should have a list of who the current owners are. That makes the genealogical side of the work quite a lot easier. The bad news is that title work is still time consuming and consequently expensive. You can cut down on the amount of money you will spend by doing some of the title work yourself. If you haven’t already gotten familiar with the record room, head on down to the county courthouse and do so. The ladies who work there will be very helpful if you ask. They will not tell you what any given document means (they’ll tell you to ask a lawyer), but they will tell you how to find the documents you are looking for. Typically, if you’re nice to them they’ll be nice back. Good luck, and if you need help figuring out the title to your minerals give us a call. 304-473-1403. Darla will book you an appointment to talk over what you’ve done and what you need help with.

  42. Kyle,

    My 2 siblings and myself just received an agreement stating our great grandfather had 42.5 acres mineral rights in Clay county West Virginia, they offered us $600 bonus and “shut in royalty” of 16%. What does “shut in” , mean and is this beneficial to us? First of all I didn’t even know I had mineral rights in West Virginia but I guess I do and second of all how do I know if this company is actually going to drill or if they’re just buying up property so they can lease it to someone else and should I ask for more and what is the going rate in Clay County for this minerals they’re talking about Marcellus and Utica Shale and how soon can I expect to know what’s going to happen? My brother and sister had some attorneys look it over but we’re not from there we’re from Missouri so I just wanted to check with a gas and oil attorney in West Virginia that would know more about what is going on my understanding is the surface land was sold many years ago now my next question is why have we not been told about this and is there property tax on this mineral acreage that we have never paid and how does that work?

    • Whew! That’s a lot of questions at a time. The following answers are going to be pretty short. First, there probably aren’t back taxes owed. If there were, the property would have probably been sold for back taxes a long time ago. Second, I had not heard of any Marcellus/Utica development going on in Clay County. Clay is quite a ways south of the major Marcellus/Utica development in West Virginia. Third, some companies do more developing, others do more holding/flipping. What’s the name of the company? Fourth, $600 and 16% isn’t bad, but they never make their best offer first. Good luck, and if you want real help call the office at 304-473-1403.

  43. Hi. I was contacted by Energy Corporation of America about leasing mineral rights on 20 acres in Greene Co PA I inherited. Their offer was $2000/acre and 12.5 percent royalties.
    Your thoughts on what I should counter offer?

    • I don’t keep track of prices in PA, unfortunately. I would guess you could get up around $4000/acre and 12.5% 18%. If you call our office (304-473-1403) Darla can put you in touch with a PA attorney who does the same thing we do here in WV. There are quite a few other things to think about when you have a 20 acre tract besides just the bonus and royalty amount.

  44. My sister and I inherited a mineral right from our father. Apparently this particular area has been divided among many mineral right owners probably due to passing down to many children. My sister is no longer interested in keeping it as the money earned is not worth keeping up with the taxes and paperwork. To her it’s a headache. To me it’s a reminder of my dad and family. I guess I’m sentimental. She now wants to sell her right to me for a dollar. I am not sure how to go about that. Also, the money paid on this right isn’t worth paying a lawyer to handle the transaction. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s worth looking into but I told my sister I would do some research. I don’t want to spend a lot of money for the sale of this mineral right when it’s not worth much. Any suggestions? Is there a simple way to do this transaction?

    • It’s going to take some money to get the transaction done right. You should have a deed drawn up. I’ve seen some deeds done by non-lawyers, and they’re rarely done right. In order to do a deed, my office would require a description of the property (found in the most recent deed) and a copy of the current tax ticket. Sometimes both can be hard or impossible to acquire. You can call the office to see if we can help you. 304-473-1403.

  45. Hello, I have just been recently involved in the sale of mineral rights on behalf on my mother that had received this by way of inheritance. Without knowing more than I do , the price – offer seemed adequate judging by what the annual taxes are. Is this not relevant to the value of any particular mineral holdings ? It surely kinda works in real estate in applying a proportionate formula.

    Richard , in ABQ , NM

    • I wouldn’t rely on the tax value to determine the value of mineral rights. Over the last five years I’ve watched the value of minerals rights skyrocket, plummet back to earth, and start to climb again. Eleven years ago you could have sold mineral rights for $50/acre and thought you were getting a good deal. Today if you’re selling for less than $6,000/acre in some counties you’re getting a bad deal. Other counties you’d have a hard time selling them for $500/acre. The value of the minerals really depends on where they are located, and on what the price of natural gas is.

      • Is $5500 per acre to sell in Jackson twp. Monroe County Ohio the going rate? We are trying to see on 74 acres if this is ok w my brothers and me. Thank you

        • I don’t keep track of what’s going on in Ohio, I’m afraid. I’m not licensed to practice up there. you could call the office (304-473-1403) and we’ve got a number for some attorneys who do practice in Ohio, though. They’d have a better idea of the going price for Ohio minerals than I would.

  46. Hi Tony,

    Can someone with a life estate in minerals initiate the sale of the minerals and execute the deed without the remainderman? This is confusing.

    Thank you

    • The owner of a life estate can sell the life estate to another person without the approval of the remainderman. However, it will only be the life estate. The remainderman will still retain his/her rights. You can only convey what you own.

      Life estates and remainder interests get pretty complicated, and there’s some interesting law that’s been developed over the centuries in regards to the life estate/remainderman relationship. It’s actually pretty sensible once you get your mind wrapped around it, but it can take some time to grasp the concepts. Look up the Open Mines doctrine if you need something to put you to sleep some night. Good luck, and call if you feel like you need help with it.

  47. Hi Kyle,

    My wife has been getting paperwork for the last several months regarding a ~12 acre parcel which she’s about 0.23% share (1 members of ~140 on the parcel), which she had no idea she was a partial heir to a year ago.

    She had seen paperwork from Chevron several months ago, and had actually spoken with somebody, but she’s really against fracking in general so she held out. A few weeks ago she got a legal doc saying something about a quiet title/partition suit, and today she received a box with a ~6″ stack of papers… all the docs related to the suit.

    Seeing this box full of court papers, I’ve decided to get involved. After researching several hours tonight, I saw your name come of frequently, particularly for this region and thought I’d ask. She has 30 days to respond… What does this mean, and what are our options? Is it too late to get back to the bargaining table? I’m getting the impression that holding-out will in no way prevent drilling, is this true? Options moving forward?

    You seem extremely helpful, THANKS!
    Mike Dooling

    • Holding out will not stop drilling/fracking, but it will slow it down a bit. My general recommendation for people who are opposed to development for whatever reason is to negotiate hard with the company (slowing them down a bit) and take the money that you receive from the bonus/royalties and donate it to an organization that opposes development. There are more than one to choose from. This is more effective than letting it go at a partition sale because the partition sale usually results in the company owning the mineral rights and pocketing the profits.

      It’s not too late to negotiate, but it might be too late to negotiate hard. You’ll have to feel out the landman/lawyer that you end up talking with. Usually, if you contact them after a partition suit has been filed they will still work out an agreement with you.

  48. Mr. Nuttall,

    A family member’s mineral rights here in Tyler Co., WV were seized and sold in a partition suit. He lives in TX, and travels extensively for work, often outside of the US. Because of his schedule, he sometimes gets far behind in sorting/reading his mail, as happened in this case.

    As I live here in WV, he has asked me to track down the proceeds from the sale on his behalf. Over a year ago, I contacted the county clerk’s office regarding these funds. I was referred to the office of the prosecuting attorney, who gave me the names of two attorneys, one in Wheeling, the other in Moundsville. When I contacted them, one did not return my call, and the others’ office stated that it was in the hands of a judge in Wheeling, but offered no advice. I dropped it that point, in favor of more pressing issues of my own. It has now become pertinent again, as our mother is terminally ill, and the funds are needed for her care. My problem is, I don’t know where to begin, other than starting over at the beginning.

    Can you offer any suggestions?

    • The funds should be in an escrow account somewhere, either at the county or the state. Since you’ve checked with the county, it seems you’ll have to contact the state. If that doesn’t work for you, give the office call and we’ll see what we can do to help.

  49. My parents sold their Ritchie county – W. Va. property in 2004 but did not sell the mineral rights. The purchase agreement states that mineral rights were not included in the sale BUT when the lawyer who drew up the deed he did not state that the sale excluded the mineral rights. My father must not have notice that exclusion on the deed when he signed it. My parents paid the taxes on the mineral rights and the rights were willed to my siblings and I when they passed away. We have paid the taxes since 2011 and received some royalities from leasing. The people who purchased the property sold it to Antero last year and in their deed it states they keep the mineral rights. We were told by a company that purchased some of our other mineral rights that we don’t own the mineral rights on the property my parents owned. Even though we have been paying taxes on them all these years. We contacted the lawyer who drew up the deed but he told us he was unable to fix the error because he represented both parties when he did the deed for the real estate company. They lived in New Jersey my parents are the ones who listed the property. CAN YOU HELP US?

    • We’re actually working on a very similar case right now. It gets messy and the little details are important. We can try to help, but I can’t guarantee success. Give the office a call at 304-473-1403 to set up an appointment to talk with someone about the situation. Get copies of all the documents that you can, including the sales listing, the purchase and sales agreement, the deed, and the tax tickets.

  50. We have a copy of a right of way for Cranberry Pipeline Corporation:
    dated 16th day of December 1983
    Grantor (owner at that time) grants and conveys with general warranty to Cranberry a right of way and easement to lay, maintain, operate, protect, repair, replace, reduce or increase the size of and remove pipelines for transportation of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons; so on so forth.
    We purchased this piece of property in October 2013 with 100% mineral, timber, surface rights.
    The pipeline has not been maintained (covered by trees brush etc) and is out of date (about 100 years old) and unusable.
    We tried to contact cranberry pipeline corporation, which is now Cabot oil and gas about abandoning the pipeline but can’t get any good info.
    Is this right of way still valid? What law or governing rule says when a pipeline is no longer usable and must be abandoned.
    Also, if Cabot wanted to put in a new pipeline, would they still have the right to do so?
    What rights do we have regarding them tearing up our land for a new pipeline.
    What if another company wants to lease our land with potential to drill or put in pipeline?
    Confusing??? Hope you can help?

    • Excellent question. The document is going to control, so a close reading of the agreement from 1983 will answer most of the questions. If there isn’t an end date, or if there isn’t some language that provides for an end to the agreement based off something happening or something not happening, then the agreement is most likely permanent.

      Now, it might be possible to get the company to sign a release of that easement agreement. Since they’re not using it any more, they may find it cheaper to sign a document letting it go than to put up a fight. However, if the company has plans in your area they will want to hold on to that easement. Pipeline easement agreements start at $1/inch/foot and go up from there, so acquiring a new one can get expensive. You can always hope to get lucky.

      Which state is this in? West Virginia doesn’t have a law on the books that deals specifically with your situation, but some other states might. If you’re in another state, you’ll want to talk with an attorney from that state. Call the office at 304-473-1403 and we can point you in the right direction.

  51. I signed a contract for 32.80 acres. Divided among heirs at 3.41667 acres at 3500.00 per acre, lease option.. Received a bonus check worded as payment in full for the leased acres, but, the acreage was reduced to just 0.512. I am looking at the deed at the Wetzel county courthouse. The dead has 2 tracts. 1st tract is 34 4/5 acres and a second tract of 10 5/6. It appears the payment is for the second tract, though the check states “review of updated title indicates a decrease in the net amount to 0.512 acres from 3.41667

    • That’s typically because they did an initial search of the documents and genealogy and determined that you owned that much. Then they did some follow up research once they had signed agreements from you, and found new heirs that they hadn’t found the first time. If you can prove that they were right the first time your interest will go back up. That can take a lot of work, though, and it’s quite possible that they are right. Good luck.

  52. A landman contacted me back in May and offered a little over a hundred dollars for the mineral rights I apparently own on a tiny portion of land in Doddridge County. I told the guy I wasn’t interested, that it would be more trouble than it was worth just getting the paperwork notarized, etc. Two days ago I received a letter from a different landman (landwoman?) stating that if I didn’t get in touch with her within ten days and accept the offer, the company she represented (EQT) would file a partition suit seeking to have a court force me to sell. My question is this: What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t agree to sell–other than the court eventually forcing me to sell, thus causing me to receive a lower (or no) amount? In other words, is it even remotely possible that I could be fined or forced to pay for court costs or compelled to travel or something equally unpleasant? I know of course that I should simply agree to the offer and get the whole business over with, and I’m aware that by refusing to do so I may be holding up the deal for some of my fellow lease holders. But her letter rankled me. I want to ignore it. You know, just to be stubborn.

    • If you let it go to partition suit, the worst that will happen is that you’ll be served papers during the proceedings. You shouldn’t end up owing anything, at least, not the way it’s done right now. I’m sure some enterprising company will figure out a way of making people pay for the partition suit costs someday. You’re safe for now, though.

      I do generally agree with you, it’s usually worth it to agree with them at some point. Instead of $100, ask them for $1000 and see what they say. If they laugh at you then you know you’ve probably got a little tiny interest and you probably can’t do much. If they agree to a significant bump up in price, give us a call and we can help you get a little better terms. Maybe not a lot more money, but definitely some important terms like limiting your liability and limiting the company’s control to a little less than everything.

  53. Hi, Kyle-We originally had a lease with Chesapeake in 2011, which then was bought by Chevron. Our Chesapeake lease was $3500/acre, and we had addendums added which were relative to Hold Harmless, No Storage Rights, Royalty changed to 18%, Gross Proceeds and Warranty of Title. Our lease is up now and Chevron is offering $3000/acre, 12.5% royalty, and firm on the offer . . we asked about/requested addendums similar to our original lease with Chesapeake, and they will not add them. Chevron said that Chesapeake had no plans of drilling. At first Chevron said they had plans for our minerals, and I think we have drug our feet long enough on signing, that now they say the plans have “stalled”. The mineral rights are in District of Webster, Marshall County. Chevron said that no one is knocking down our doors offering to lease, so I think it is take it or leave it. Have you run across this, and should we continue to try to hold off? Is there something better out there?

    • Right now it seems that waiting and saying no is a good negotiating tactic. The price of gas has been going up and will probably continue to go up. At very least, it seems that it will stay at or above $3.00/MCF for the rest of the year. With higher gas prices and fewer drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) the companies are going to be more motivated to take new leases and develop new property. With higher gas prices, there will also be more investment capital flowing into the industry. It also looks like the industry will be more stable for the time being, which encourages investment. With time, there should be more money flowing, and companies should be able to offer better prices and terms than they have recently.

      However, you have to keep a close eye on this stuff. The industry can turn quickly for the worse, and if you hold out too long you will find offers being rescinded and changed. It can be a delicate balancing act.

      That part about Chesapeake not having plans for drilling, that’s not true. While CHK often bought property with the idea of flipping it to another company, they also did quite a lot of development in the Marshall and Wetzel County area. If you have a large percentage of ownership in a large tract, you should be able to get as good or better terms than you got previously.

  54. I need a Lawyer to read my Lease to see if states if I get a sign-on bonus if it is extended pass the 5 years.It is producing.

    • If it’s producing there usually won’t be any extension of the primary term. Most leases will move into the secondary term when production starts. As long as there’s production and royalty payments are being made, it stays in the secondary term. Once production ceases and payments cease, the lease will expire.

  55. I recently inherited 100 acres in Upshur county/with O/G rights. 1 existing well, 3 untapped wells. Several questions I have.
    -Do I need to get a hold of each of the 2 companies for transfer of lease or identification of new ownership?
    -How do I get a copy of the lease(s) for viewing?
    -The area around the tapped well is in bad shape, and even blocks access to part of the land. What can I do about this?
    -There is a well on the adjacent farm, which its pad sits partially on my property. I know my father made an easement agreement with this company, that partly contains road maintenance to this pad. The road has not been maintained. How can I get the info regarding this easement, as it is the only way into this pad.

    • First, congratulations! Owning minerals can be lucrative and fun. There’s a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it.

      You can find copies of the leases and the easement at the courthouse. It may take some work to do, but they’ll be there. If they’re not, then they technically don’t exist. We can help you with the research, or do it for you.

      You should contact each of the companies that hold leases on the property. They’ll want some information from you in order to change their records and start making payments to you.

      When you say “untapped” wells, I assume that means they are no longer producing. If so, they should be plugged or reworked. You can report that information to the DEP. An inspector will probably come out to look at them in pretty short order. The inspector will be able to give you some advice about the surface issues, too.

  56. we are selling our property of 21 acres in monongalia county, our mineral rights are split50/50 with another person. The potential buyer want to buy our mineral rights to protect himself from any potential drilling. We are willing to give them half of our ownership so we maintain some control of the rights because we too do not want any drilling under our property. So my question is, if a drilling company approached us and wanted to put a pad on the property, would all of the mineral owners have to agree, or could the surface owner allow it to happen if they only own 25% of the mineral rights?

    • That’s a more complicated question than you might think. The surface owner technically can’t refuse to let the surface be used for oil and gas development. The oil and gas owners have to be able to use the surface to develop the oil and gas, otherwise the oil and gas rights are useless. So the oil and gas owners have the right to use the surface for oil and gas purposes. They are limited to only doing what is “fairly necessary”. The company will usually work out an agreement with the surface owner as well, however.

      The oil and gas owners do have to agree; the company can’t develop the oil and gas without a lease from every owner. However, if someone is unreasonable the other owners (usually the company will buy one acre from a cooperating owner, making the company an owner) can use a partition suit to force development.

  57. i have a oil and gas lease agreement with Antero Resources in Wetzel County that i have not yet signed. I had previously tried to get the post production costs section removed and requested that the oil and gas be valued at the point of sale to an unaffiliated third party. My question is do Oil and Gas Companies still negotiate Gross rather than Net Agreements or am i stuck with a post production costs clause with Antero. What about the problem that Antero sells its oil and gas to Antero Midstream.

    • Antero has two post-production clauses they usually offer people. One is the Market Enhancement clause, and the other is the Gross Proceeds at the Wellhead clause. I favor the Gross Proceeds at the Wellhead clause. If you ever see the Market Enhancement clause, you’ll understand why. I haven’t usually had too much trouble getting Antero to agree to the Gross Proceeds at the Wellhead clause. Sometimes the landman won’t be familiar with it and you’ll have to ask them for it specifically, but Antero has it and uses it. Just keep asking.

      • Kyle, how should the value of the gas at the wellhead be determined? I have a proposal that it is the value of gas based on MMBTU but no details in the clause exists on how that value is determined.

        • I hesitate to get into this subject too deeply here. There are a lot of details that need to be covered. The long and short of it is that West Virginia law only allows a producer to deduct costs if they’re detailed in the lease, along with a method for calculating the costs. Since that’s the case, the price should be set where the gas is sold to a non-affiliated third party. There could be a lot more that goes into it, though. Good luck negotiating!

    • There are a number of companies buying up mineral rights and they all pay different amounts. I would say that if you were selling for less than $4000/acre you were getting ripped off, but it’s going to depend a lot on how big your interest is and how hot the market is. If you have an actual offer in hand, then you can judge the market at that time.

  58. Kyle,

    When my ex wife sold her farm in Monongalia county back in 2007, I suggested we separate the remaining mineral rights. The coal rights had already been sold.
    The property was acquired by her prior to our marriage. Since I had put her name on my house title she felt it fair to put my name on the mineral rights on the farm. The farm was about 23 acres. The attorney who did the closing and drew up the new deed for the new surface owners showed the properety being transferred from my wife and myself, “a married couple”.. My name was not on any previous deed.
    A landsman recently contacted both of us and made an offer on the mineral rights to either lease or buy. Since we have been divorced a few years , he sent us separate lease agreements to sign.
    My ex is now contending that my name on the deed to the surface owners does not
    give me any claim to the mineral rights.
    My name is clearly on file in the county clerk office in the “deeds” section.
    She is now asserting that she never intended to share the mineral rights and intends to tell the landsman that those rights should be in her name only..
    What do you think, do I have any rights here. ???

    • That’s a really good question. I spoke with an attorney who does a lot of family law and probate work, and they said that you probably do own an interest in the minerals. That’s an off-the-cuff opinion, without any real research, so it could be wrong. If you want to hire someone to dig into it, we can do it or I can point you towards the other attorney. Call the office at 304-473-1403.

    • The fact that you joined the deed of sale as a grantor does not necessarily mean that you had any vested interest in the property. It is common for a spouse to join in the sale and conveyance of property to release any marital interest they might have in property that was separately owned by the other spouse (such as inherited property and property acquired prior to the marriage). The issue is whether you were entitled to a marital interest. Talk to the lawyer that handled your divorce.

  59. My grandfather has a lease for oil rights in Marshall County, WV. He gets a check for a whopping $19 per year. He passed away December 2014 and the actual lease was never put into the trust that he had. It was a California trust and he was a California resident. We have changed over 2 of the leases to his heirs (my mom and uncle) with CNX Gas Company with no problem, we only had to submit an Heirship Affidavit and death certificate. We even recorded the Heirship Affidavit for any future issues. This one lease with Columbia Pipeline Group is giving us problems and is saying that we have to file a probate in WV to get it changed. Am I crazy to believe that that is completely unncessary for something like this, especially when another company changed it over no problem?

    • Columbia Pipeline Group is mostly involved with building and operating pipelines, so maybe they’re asking for the probate to be filed because they’re dealing with a surface interest instead of a mineral interest. It’s hard for me to say for sure without knowing a lot more about the situation.

  60. Can a gas company drill without ratification of lease for polling on track of gas and oil of a old 1920 lease I own 1/6 of 75 acres

    • I think that I just answered this same question in the last comment. If not, call the office at 304-473-1403 and we can talk about your situation.

  61. looking for answers radification of lease for pooling 1/6 interest signature required yes or no? has well on held by production 1920 lease

    • Yes, signature required, unless you’re in the 2nd Circuit (Wetzel, Tyler, Marshall counties), then there’s a very recent decision that says a modification isn’t necessary for pooling. Supreme Court hasn’t looked at that decision yet, and it could be overturned. The reasoning is solid, but there is solid reasoning the other way too.

  62. Antero Resources is wanting to lease my portion of the Thomas Madison Shuttlesworth. 6-7 areas in Wetzel, Dodridge, Tyler, Ritchie Co of W.V. I need help. I dont trust them.

    • You should have some good negotiating leverage if your interests are large. We can definitely put together a better lease for you. The standard offer that they will present to you is always in the company’s favor, but they are willing to make changes. Once you have paperwork from Antero, give the office a call and we’ll see what we can do to protect you. 304-473-1403.

  63. My brother and I own land in Cabell County. We were contacted last you to grant access for an environmental study. We agreed.
    Tuesday, a man called stated he wants to meet with us. He has a check “for several thousand dollars, but it’s negotiable”
    He wants to meet with us on Monday 11th. Not much notice, huh?
    IDK. I was tempted to ask for an email to see if it had a Nigerian IP address

    • Probably the Mountaineer Xpress pipline. I don’t know of anything else happening out that direction. Cabot has been drilling an experimental well in Putnam County, the Cabot 50, to the Rogersville Shale. The Rogersville won’t get developed until gas prices get around $5/MCF or maybe higher for an extended length of time. I don’t see that happening for several years at least. So it must be the pipeline. Call if you want some help with that. 304-473-1403. Negotiating leases and pipeline easements is what we do around here.

  64. I have minerals in Ritchie county and Noble energy stated a well on the land of my minerals rights .But pull out in February of 2014 They drill two other well and stated on my then left. Will they be coming back to Ritchie county anytime soon

    • I was out in Ritchie County yesterday, and could see two drilling rigs from Route 50. Drilling isn’t going crazy in Ritchie, but there’s still work going on there. It’s impossible to say when Noble will get back to work on yours though. The best you can do is continue to call them and see what info you can get out of them.

  65. Do i have time to file a clay heirs excemption. And i was notified about. historic rights ,bit i need help

    • I’ll need a lot more detail. Is this a tax issue or something else? When were you notified? What were you notified about? This is the kind of thing that may have a statute of limitations, so you should probably call the office quick. 304-473-1403.

  66. Kyle I own 33 1/3 mineral rights that’s leased by Antero Resources . My lease is up in 15 months, and It’s in Tyler Co. WV. The question I have is the land man from Tyler co sent me a modification for pooling with 84 people in and around our unit. They are supposed to only have one well and it doesn’t seem like a very good deal. Could you please give me advice. I would really appreciate some advice.

    • I’ll need a little more detail. Is it an Antero lease that they want to modify, or an older lease that Antero bought from another company? Have they already drilled a well, or is this a situation where they were saying they would only drill one well when the started and are now saying that they want to drill more when they get started?

  67. Hi Kyle, It seems there is some activity in Richie County these days. Do you see this moving into Wirt County anytime soon? My siblings and I own a fairly significant amount of mineral acreage there.

    Thanks, Gary

    • It’s probably not moving in to Wirt County. Wirt doesn’t seem to be a big place for oil and gas development yet. Wirt does have the Mountaineer Xpress pipeline coming through, but that will only affect the surface owners right along the pipeline path.

  68. My sister and I were contacted in September 2015 in regards to our heir to family rights. This process has been in affect for almost a year now. The only documents we have signed are the affidavit. I have made several phone calls with months in between to our landman. I am getting the same response every time I call which is the title work is not finished yet. I know nothing really about the process but somehow feel that it should be finished by now. Is this a normal situation?

    • Doing the research at the courthouse record room doesn’t take long. Finding all the heirs can and does. It can take a long time to find info on one line of the family. They have to assume that there are heirs, until they can prove there aren’t. If they’re still in the process of researching the heirs they won’t be able to make a determination regarding how much each line of the family owns. That’s probably what’s taking a long time. Oh, and they don’t have nearly as many landmen working for them now so they could be waiting on somebody to do the courthouse record room research. It’s hard to tell, honestly.

  69. hi, we own mineral rights on a small 4 acre parcel right in the middle of many acres NNE plans to horizontally drill. we were trying to negotiate fees, percentage, post production costs etc, when all the sudden the landman said the co isn’t interested in negotiations anymore! He had said something previously about donut holing, going around ours with a map that showed 5″lakes”? some of family signed their lease. How can we make sure the don’t steal our gas? It’s in clay district and there is acerage all around ours. Since we asked for more, they dropped us! what about those who did sign the lease? we can’t afford a lawyer to handle it, and don’t even know how to find our 4acres! what can we do? thank you!

    • It’s time for you to get familiar with the WV DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas website. Keep an eye out on Northeast Natural Energy’s filings and look for your property. Also, keep in touch with the part of the family that did sign leases. They’ll be able to let you know if they receive royalty payments. If they put a well under or within 300 feet of your property they should owe you some money.

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