Contact Information

Nuttall Legal, LLC
P. O. Box 741
15 North Kanawha Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201

109 thoughts on “Contact Information

  1. I sold mineral rights in Tyler County in 2017 which I acquired through inheritance in 1996. I am trying to establish the value of a net mineral acre in 1996. The difference in my taxes will not be enough to pay a legal fee but would like to get it right. Any advice?

    • The value of minerals is a pretty difficult thing to determine. However, there are at least two acceptable methods that I’m aware of. One is to determine what the royalty payments over two to three years would have been. The other is to determine what the mineral acre would have sold for in 1996. I wasn’t working in oil and gas in 1996, so I won’t be a whole lot of help there. To determine the possible royalty revenue that year you could spend some time looking at historic numbers for gas prices, and at historic numbers for production from wells in the area. Historic gas prices will be easy to Google. Historic well production in the area can be found at the West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas’ web site, and the WVGES website. Good luck, and call the office if you decide you need help.

  2. My family has had 3 such “transactions” regarding mineral rights from both Antero and EQT. Our immediate problem is EQT. Almost two years ago we were notified that drilling had been taking place on 4 tracts. “please provide SSN, sign forms..etc..etc.”. Other statements included “Royalty Checks will be dispersed in June (2017)”, “just waiting for this one other person to sign…”, “the first check will be bigger than the rest”… We have LITERALLY been promised royalties for over a year now. Even to this date – 16 months after being promised royalties..we not received a nickel.

    When I reach out to EQT and they don’t have an answer as to “when” dispersements will be made. Is it normal to take this long? Calls to EQT go to associates who just say “we don’t know”. I know something is rotten in Denmark. Have you ever heard of such a problem? What do you think?

    • I’ve heard similar stories before. The company is waiting for one person to fill out and send back the paperwork that you already sent back. It’s not right for the company to make you wait for your money, especially since they won’t be including interest payments. You’ve done everything you need to, your contract is good, but the company is making you wait because someone else isn’t working with them. It’s not right, and not fair. The only real consideration for you is whether you have a large enough interest in the mineral rights to make it worth your time to hire a lawyer. Of course you should send them a couple of certified letters first, demanding payment, that way you can show bad faith on their part.

  3. Hello, I was contacted about a mineral lease that has been passed down in my family. We had been leasing the mineral rights and a few years ago I was one of the heirs when my grandmother passed. A few years ago we thought we sold these acres but have now been contacted about 12 acres that somehow were not part of that sale. We were offered something that came down to about $600 an acre. It looks like some of the family wants to sell but I am curious to the value of the land now. It is in Taylor County. Would it be better to hold onto it. I would even be interested in if I should by them out for their portion since they wish to sell. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • We have both a Taylor and a Tyler county here in WV. If that property is in Taylor, there’s not a whole lot going on in the way of development and getting an offer for property there is a good thing. You can always negotiate for more, though. If it’s in Tyler, that’s a serious low ball offer. You could lease for $3K-$4K per acre in Tyler, and a sale should be considerably more.

  4. My husband and I have property in Eastern Kentucky in Perry County. We have three oil wells and one natural gas.It was previously owned by Journey Operating Company but was acquired by Jetta Company. When a new company takes over should the contract be renegotiated? My Grandmother-in-law signed a 100 year contract about 50 years with an X as her signature and new very little about what she was signing. We get very little royalties and are looking for a way to renegotiate.

    • Hi Shari. I don’t work in Kentucky, unfortunately. There may be some law about production in paying quantities over in Kentucky, or there may not. I just don’t know. There may be some other ways of getting out of a lease. If you’ll call the office we can try to track down some lawyers over there who help out mineral owners and put you in touch. 304-473-1403.

  5. My family recently was contacted by a representative of an oil company to lease 109 ac. in the Marcellus/Utica in Wetzel County, WV. How long does the oil company have to get all family members to sign the lease and when is the lease bonus paid?

    • Good question. They could take years to get everyone to sign. They could even have some of the first leases expire before they get everybody signed up. Every person’s interest is a separate real property interest, and has to be dealt with as a separate interest. The bonus for any given lease will be paid according to the terms of that lease. One person could agree to wait until everyone has been signed (bad idea, by the way) and another person could push the company to pay within a couple weeks of signing.

  6. Hello. I have received an oil and gas lease from Northeast Natural Energy for mineral rights owned by my great grandmother. There are several heirs involved. Gross acreage is 21.285. My net acreage is 0.09. The offer is for 1000.00 flat. Interest is 0.004. This is in Monongalua County. Is this a good offer? Any advice is appreciated.

    • That’s a good offer. If they started out offering $1000 they’ll probably go up. Ask them for $2000. Make sure you get an 18% royalty, gross proceeds. Good luck!

  7. Kyle – I practiced oil & gas law in Mississippi for many years before leaving law practice years ago to pursue other things. My father-in-law and his siblings own a substantial interest in 2 or 3 different tracts in Marshall County, West Virginia. As to one of those tracts, there have been questions raised about the language used to reserve minerals in a 1907 deed which could affect the amount and nature of that interest. I have recommended they talk with you about that title issue because it has the potential to increase the amount of their interest and change their gas royalty interest from non-participating to participating. Suffice it to say, for now, that those questions have apparently been resolved in the family’s favor – at least partially – as they are being paid on a lease originally granted to Tug Hill on the tract that has the title concerns. That lease was apparently assigned by Tug Hill because the operator and payor is now EQT. The Tug Hill lease had a gross proceeds clause. EQT is deducting post-production costs. I have tried to interpret the WV Supreme Court’s opinions in the Leggett case to determine if EQT is justified in making the deductions, but I can’t glean anything definitive from the latest opinion. Where do you think this issue stands? By the way, EQT has deducted these expenses from the beginning of their operatorship back in 2016, so it does not appear that the previous Leggett decision or the latest one had any bearing on their decision to make the deduction. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • EQT will deduct post-production costs until they are forced not to. The Leggett decision applies to old flat rate royalty leases only. If the lease with Tug Hill is as you say then EQT shouldn’t be taking deductions. However, the Leggett decision seems to indicate that the West Virginia Supreme Court might look favorably on a challenge from the companies on the questions of whether a lease allows a company to deduct post-production costs. It might be wise to wait for a change in the judges before taking a case like that to court.

  8. Kyle,
    We supposedly are going to be offered $5,500-$6,000 p/a and 20%-no post for a Marcellus lease. This lease would also lock in the company to drill in the Utica within 5 years of tapping the Marcellus. Personally I would like to sell the rights of both plays instead of leasing. Lower taxes-no wait-gas markets. Why are companies reluctant to purchase instead of leasing?

    • I’m surprised that the company you are dealing with won’t buy. I’ve sold mineral rights to most of the companies that are leasing in the area. Those are excellent prices, by the way. And good job getting them to promise to drill to the Utica after drilling the Marcellus. Let us know if you’d like some help making sure the lease terms are as favorable as the prices you’ve negotiated.

      • Re: selling
        Do you think it is reasonable to ask $6,000 per acre for each individual play? As I stated earlier, I would rather sell than take the risk…I’m not 25 anymore 😉

  9. We received a lease offer from EQT for approximately 59 acres in Wetzel county about a month ago. I felt the offer was incredibly low. My mom presented everything to our attorney to review. He’s still looking over everything. They are offering just over $440 per acre and 1/8th for royalties. That just seems like a ridiculously low offer. What advice should I give to my mom? Should she accept that if the attorney says it’s good? She’s been asking for my help with this. Thanks so much for any advice.

    • $440/acre is exceptionally low for a lease offer in Wetzel County right now. That’s also a very unusual number for a lease offer. It’s possible that you’ve been offered a modification, amendment, or ratification of an old lease. If it’s for a lease, those numbers are really low. If it’s for a modification, those are reasonable. It’s also possible that you have a very small net mineral interest and that’s what the bonus amount is going to be based off a calculation at several thousand dollars per acre. Good luck, and call the office if you decide you want more help. 304-473-1403.

  10. We were just contacted this week that my great great grandparents have 103 acre tracts in Monongalia County, WV that we will be inheriting. I know NOTHING about this stuff so I have been researching. I have no clue what the word “tracts” even mean??? I have read your above questions and answers and am seeing that we could possibly “lease” them for $6,000 an acre with 18% royalty? Is this true? So is that like they are renting the tracts to drill on and if they find anything we get 18% of the money they get from it? Is leasing much better than selling? This is all so confusing and frustrating trying to figure all this out. I do not want to make any hasty decisions and get screwed in the process! Please Help! Thanks so much in advance!

    • You have a lot to learn at this point, and I can’t possibly cover it all in a response to your comment. However, a tract is just a portion of land. You probably only are inheriting a small share of the 103 acre tract, but that’s better than nothing. Leasing is usually preferable to selling as you’ll usually get more money out of it in the long run, but you might decide to sell after thinking all the factors over. $6000/acre in Monongalia County is high, but could happen in a best case scenario. 18% royalty is pretty common for a negotiated lease; most offers start at 12.5%. Good luck. Keep reading and studying. Mineral ownership can be a lot of fun, and a lot of work. When you get a lease offer or if you just want to talk your situation over with someone that can give you answers to your specific questions, give the office a call at 304-473-1403.

  11. I signed a five year lease with Antero Resources Appalachian Corporation in May 2012 for a $2500/acre bonus and an 18% royalty on 8.368 acres of land in the Tenmile District of Harrison County, WV.
    Antero recently contacted me regarding their wish to renew the lease for an additional five year term with a $1000/acre bonus and a 16% royalty.
    They are willing to honor an 18% royalty if that’s the only way I will sign, but they are not flexible on the bonus.
    I understand oil and gas industry activity has been slow to non-existent in the area for quite some time. I’m unsure if I should proceed with signing a new lease under the proposed terms.

    • I think I would hold out by just not contacting them back for a while. $1000/acre is ridiculously low for that part of Harrison County. The numbers you signed for in 2012 are actually the same numbers I would push for in 2017. In fact, I think I would push for $3000/acre. If the property isn’t worth it, let them give you a good explanation as to why. It’s not the market right now. The market is healthy. The price of gas is a just a touch lower than it was in 2012, but more along the lines of 5% to 10%, not 60%.

      • I requested a $3000/acre bonus with an 18% royalty on 05/08/2017.
        A representative from Antero replied today with the same offer as first made earlier this year, $1000/acre bonus with a 16% royalty.
        I asked why the offer was so low for the area. She said the industry isn’t doing the business it did in 2012; she mentioned nothing about the property. (Exxon drilled on the property years ago).
        I also asked why the royalty percentage wasn’t higher. I told her I don’t have a lot of incentive to sign at this point. She placed the call on hold to check with a higher authority.
        When the call resumed, she reiterated the 16% royalty as their best offer.
        She asked me if I was interested or if she should take my name off the “calling list”. I told her I would not make a decision without consulting others.
        It seems strange. She left a voicemail message in late April/early May with an offer to negotiate the bonus.

  12. Hi kyle, We are trying to work out oil and gas lease county. Getting a lot of pressure to hurry of course. They would not rewrite the lease, we now have a new addendum and payment page 2000.00 bonus with the following 1. No coalbed methane, only oil and gas. Can they take other minerals with the above language? he says no. 2. Royalty Payment Without Deduction: for all volumes of oil and natural gas and natural gas constituents produced and sold 18% royalty of the first of the month index price for natural gas applicable to the interstate pipelines. Lessor will not be charged for any production or post-production charges by lessee. We ask for gross proceeds and he said that is what “All Volumes” means, is this true? They did not sign lease yet so is the addendum legal when it says Conflict of terms- addendum shall be controlling? or should we write on the lease(is legal to write on the lease) where they sign ” Contract is subject to the terms of the addendum” or is this the same thing? We also have the Indemnity, audit and No warranty clause.

    • You’ve done a good job of getting some good language in your lease. The royalty language should do the trick of getting you gross proceeds. A typical oil and gas lease will not allow for the production of other minerals, such as coal. With the coal bed methane exception the lease should be limited the way you describe it. Good job getting the Indemnity, No Warranty, and Audit clauses. Obviously I’m not going to tell you that you have a great lease, I’d want to actually read the whole thing first. But it looks like you’ve gotten some good improvements made to it on your own.

  13. Hi
    I was wondering if anyone is leasing in Lincoln County WV and if so what the leasing fees/bonus might be per acre.
    Companies that lease back in 2007-2008 have mostly left the area when they paid 1,000$/acre or more. Marcellus shale production in the area isnt so good.

    • There’s a little bit going on in Lincoln County. It’s been months since I last talked with someone who had a lease offer there, and it had been years before that. Frankly, I don’t remember any of the names at this point. I’d be surprised if you got an offer for more than $100-$250/acre right now. Anyone I talk to in that area I recommend they wait until the Rogersville shale becomes a hot play. That could be years.

  14. Yes I received a letter out of the blue. I had no idea about mineral rights.
    Antero says 99.421 gross acreage, .00863 net mineral acres in Mountain, Ritchie Co.. They want to give me a $100.00 sign in bonus then if Antero places the property into a pooled unit I then will receive royalty of15%. I live in Ohio and have no idea what to do. There are other family members involved but I dont know them.

    • That’s an awfully small net mineral interest. However, you still have some negotiating leverage because the company has to get a lease from all the mineral owners it can find before it can get a drilling permit. Ask them for $500 and 18% with no post-production costs. Also as for a No Warranty of Title clause and for an Indemnification clause. Just as a heads up, you probably will never receive much of anything in the way of royalties because your interest is so small. The signing bonus should be the main focus of any negotiating you do.

  15. Hello, any idea on what is current value for minerals in Ritchie County, Murphy District these days? Have 20 acres to play with.

    • You can probably negotiate the bonus up north of $3000/acre and the royalty up to 18%. If you’re good, maybe even a little better. Don’t forget about post-production costs, indemnification, no warranty, a Pugh clause, and other such things. Good luck, and let us know if we can help you negotiate for a better deal.

  16. Mr. Nuttall,
    I have been contacted by Antero regarding a WI that I inherited. The property is located in Ritchie Co and is held by shallow production dating back to the 60’s. I spoke with a landman at Antero and inquired about force pooling statutes in West Virginia. He told me that there were no such laws in the state. I just saw some reference to force pooling on your blog posts, but could not tell if it was state wide or still under litigation. Can you clarify?

    I have 25 years of oil and gas exploration experience, but all in OK, TX, and AR.


    • There is forced pooling in West Virginia, but only for deep formations. Deep is defined in West Virginia as anything below the Marcellus, essentially. For Marcellus and up, there is no forced pooling. That could change during the next legislative session.

      There are some other legal ways of acquiring your working interest, but don’t worry about them until they actually start threatening. In the meantime you can negotiate with them and see if you can get some decent money for your interest. The other option is to keep the working interest and either invest in the well(s) they’re going to build or become a carried working interest owner.

  17. Hello, my sister and I own about one acre in Doddridge Co. WV. wells on the lease have been producing since 2014 and maybe some 2013..we have not received Division Orders from Antero..called a few times..not a lot..emailed a few times..hard to get a response..we were wondering if it is time to get an attorney involved..Thank you..

    • Yes, getting an attorney involved can definitely make a difference. Something about those letters J.D. behind your name really get companies to pay attention. Give the office a call and let’s see if there’s something we can do to help.

  18. Mr. Nuttall

    I have some property in Harrison County and have been in dispute over pipeline and roadway. The agreements were signed by my dad and siblings, he then passed and throughout a few years I bought and inherited some of the land and minerals. I have a right of way agreement and temporary roadway agreement signed to all original owners. The company states the temporary road agreement is now permanent. No documents exist or can be produced by company. Their lawyers claim it was used in the beginning of construction and remains the same even though the right of way agreement states an exhibit showing proposed road and pipeline. Temporary agreement clearly states until work is complete. This work was done in 2010 and they had to come back several times, once because 20inch live pipe only had 2 inches of dirt over it. I want them to stop using road and fix/compensate for problems. What do I do and do I have something legitimate.

    • That sounds like a legitimate complaint. It actually surprises me how often companies lose the documents they rely on the operate legally. Give the office a call at 304-473-1403 and set up an appointment to talk with someone about the details. Without the documents they claim to be working under, it will be necessary to rely on what you have. If it isn’t written down, it never happened.

  19. My sister and I are the only living siblings / descendants of our father who was the heir to 62 4/11 acres, more or less in Tyler County WV. We each signed a lease with Jay-Bee Production Company in September 2008. We have received $15 checks annually and one year we received two small checks.

    I have recently met and spoken with a person whose family also owns property in Tyler County and their family has received several large checks annually and their attorney is now advising them to renegotiate the agreement. I’ve read and heard that sometimes people are not receiving what they actually have coming to them, or can hire an attorney to look into their situation to see if any changes are feasible whereby the deal can be renegotiated or a buy out would be advisable, etc.. You name was mentioned and I decided to use the internet and found this informative thread. I live in OH and my sister lives in WV.

    • Whether a lease can be renegotiated is really dependent on what’s already in the lease and whether payments have been made. Send us a copy and we’ll let you know if it’s something that’s possible. Just as a word of warning, in most situations you won’t be able to renegotiate the lease. As long as the company is keeping up their end of the bargain, the lease is going to stay the way it is.

  20. I have inherited 155 acres in Wood County WV near Williamstown, just across the Ohio River from Marietta, Oh. I am looking to sell the mineral rights. Who should I call for an estimate?

    • If you decide that you do want to sell, a quick Google search for “sell oil and gas” or “sell marcellus shale” or “sell utica shale” or “sell west virginia oil and gas” will help you find someone. I hate to recommend any one company because they vary wildly in the price they will give, and that price varies from location to location. Some companies won’t even be interested in Wood County, some companies may be focused on Wood County. Their focus changes periodically, too. Once you have decided which company you want to work with, give us a call and we’ll help you with the Purchase and Sales agreement, the deed, and act as the escrow agent.

  21. Mr. Nuttall,

    If I don’t know how I inherited the mineral rights in Ritchie and Tyler, can I still effectively request a quit claim deed to transfer my ownership into my newly set up living trust? I’ve never seen any royalty deeds or division orders, but one day we found out an affadavit of heirship was filed, lease agreements showed up, asked questions, sought advice, felt comfortable signing them, bonus checks arrived. But I don’t have any instruments to show I own anything. Does this all mean, someone else did all this so they could file a QCD?

    • If there is an Affidavit of Heirship and you’ve signed leases then the most difficult parts of putting together a deed have already been taken care of. You can use the Affidavit as a back reference, and the lease will list the Tax Map and Parcel Number. Now you just need someone to draft up a deed for you. Call the office at 304-473-1403 if you would like one done for you.

  22. My family has a lot of mineral rights scattered across Ritchie and Tyler counties. Many are leased by Antero. A few new wells have been drilled in 2014. In mid 2015 we received a letter from Nobel and CNX that a title was being challenged. No details were shared with us. The royalties have been suspended and held by them until it is researched and settled. Do we need a lawyer to protect our interests? My uncle says Noble has all the lawyers to do the research. I am not so sure.

    • Noble does have the lawyers and the landmen to do the research. However, if the title is being challenged you should try to find out if they are challenging it in court. While you should get served with notice if a court proceeding is filed, it’s quite possible that mistakes could be made and you could not receive service. If you are not served you won’t be able to show up for court and that will result in a summary judgment against you, you’ll lose your ownership in the minerals. If it’s only being reviewed by the company you should find out who’s in charge of the research and keep in contact with them periodically. Be nice to that person and if there’s a close call on the interpretation of a document, they may interpret it in your favor. If they give you a hard time through the process we’ll be glad to help out. Give the office a call at 304-473-1403.

  23. Mr. Nuttall: My parents own mineral rights to 251 acres in Monongalia County. It was originally leased by Cheseapeake. The lease expires in May 2916. My parents have been contacted and asked to sell. The gentleman that they have spoken with said they only pay for net acres. What exactly does that mean and why?

    Thank you.

      • In regard to calling and asking my parents if they want to sell they are offering $4000 per net acre – is this a fair offer?

        Thank you.

    • Mr. Eddy, net acres means how much you actually own. Gross acres is the size of the tract. For some situations this number will be the same, but for many situations in WV this number is not the same. Many people own a share of a tract that they inherited from great-grandpa. His 78 acre farm was divided up among his heirs, and then each of their heirs, and so on down the line to the present day. The result is that the 78 acre tract (gross acres) is owned by people who have a 1/78 (1 acre, their net acreage) interest. You mentioned that you’ve been offered $4000/acre. I don’t think that’s a good offer, but it depends on your situation. I think over time the amount of gas that comes out of the ground will pay back a lot more than $4000/acre. I think people should be asking $8,000-$10,000 per acre and more, but it’s hard to find a company that will pay that. So the real question to ask is, “do I need this money now or should I wait?” I wrote a post a while back that goes into some depth about making the decision whether to sell or not. Enjoy! If you do decide to sell, call the office and we’ll act as the broker to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of. 304-473-1403.

  24. My siblings and I hold mineral rights to about 25% of a 148 acre property in Wetzel County. We recently negotiated a lease that included an upfront $3500/acre payment, withholding rights to Utica. The drilling company is offering an additional $1000/ acre for access to Utica. They tell us that the rights holders of the other 75% did not reserve Utica. Is this a reasonable offer? Also, if we decline, would they likely have any recourse to force action?

    • That’s an OK offer, but I’d definitely try to get more. The Utica is far more interesting than the Marcellus to the oil and gas companies right now. Tell them you want more for the Utica than you got for the Marcellus and see what they say. They can force pool you for the Utica, so that’s something to consider. If you are pushing them too hard they may just decide to go the force pool route. You’ll have to feel out the landman to know that one. If you already have a good relationship with the landman you’ll be able to tell when they start to change their minds about leasing. Good luck, and if you’d like us to help with negotiations or to negotiate for you, we can do that. It is what we do, after all. You might just want to have us go over the lease for you to make sure there isn’t anything you missed in the first negotiation. Have fun, whatever you do!

      • Forced pooling? Are you referencing Judge David W. Hummel, Jr.’s ruling on American Energy v. Mary Jane Templeton Poling and only in his jurisdiction? If so, Is this case being appealed?

        Is this the reason lessees don’t seem to be so reluctant to provide depth clauses?.. Cause they beleive this stance will be upheld? Interesting topic.. Thanks

        • Yes, this is American Energy v. Poling. It’s binding in Judge Hummel’s jurisdiction, and persuasive in other WV jurisdictions. It hasn’t been looked at by the WV Supreme Court yet. I haven’t heard whether it has been appealed yet, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t. I haven’t seen less reluctance on the part of lessees to provide depth clauses yet. I fully expect some companies to stop taking modifications for pooling because of this. Hasn’t stopped EQT, as they are aware of the ruling and are still taking modifications for pooling purposes. I’ll let everyone know what I find out as information makes it to me.

          • Thanks. I enjoy reading your blog.
            The depth clause – could it also be the deep well force pool in WV? And of course even it becomes mute, lessors don’t want to give up anything. Status of these issues seem to very dynamic. Hopefully these new rullings are not retroactive. .

  25. Mr. Nuttall,

    Are there any legal filings required as a royalty owner as a result of Magnum Hunter’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy? I have been receiving legal paperwork, but it doesn’t appear anything is required. It looks as though the Judge has allowed them to continue making royalty payments while in BK proceedings, and we have in fact received a small royalty in January for land in Ritchie/Tyler Counties (which we have not cashed). Is representation necessary, or will this play out that Magnum Hunter will either make royalty payments as required or forfeit their right to the lease agreement? Thanks

    • I’ve taken the time to talk with an attorney who does bankruptcy law and while I can’t say I’m an expert in bankruptcy it appears that there’s not much you can or need to do. If they stop making payments to you then you can have the lease declared forfeit. If there’s language in the lease that deals with that then follow the lease. If not, WV law says that after two years of no production and no payments the lease is presumed to be forfeit.

  26. Mr. Nuttall:
    My mother is heir to a 1/16 working interest in an oil and gas lease on 247 acres in Doddridge County, WV. An attorney representing Antero Resources Corp. forwarded to her an “Agreement and Assignment” which they are requesting she sign and return to them. They have offered to send her a one-time payment of $250 for signing and returning the document by 2/9/16 (a deadline date which has passed.) The “Agreement and Assignment” appears to provide that my mother would essentially quitclaim any interest she has in the lease for $1.00. Their cover letter states that her failure to accept their one-time offer will result in Antero filing a civil action to have the working interest deemed abandoned or terminated. My mother is elderly, so I am making this inquiry on her behalf. We are in the state of Tennessee and have zero knowledge of the oil and gas industry. I would like to find out if it would be in her best interest to hire an attorney. Any information or advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

    • Where working interests are involved I tend to recommend that people just go ahead and sell. Of course, always ask for more than they are offering. In this case I’d ask them for $5000 and see if they laugh in your face. The reason I recommend that you sell is that when you have a working interest you are a partner in the well. You don’t own the typical 1/8 royalty, you own the 7/8 of the oil and gas that was transferred by the lease in exchange for a bonus payment, some royalties down the line, and your promise to drill a well. As a partner you’ll be expected to pony up your share of the drilling costs, which could be considerable. A typical Marcellus shale horizontal costs between $6 million and $10 million to drill. Even a 1/640th interest in that lease could be a large dollar figure. On the other hand, you could become a carried working interest, in which case the driller ponies up for all the drilling costs and once those costs have been recouped times two (I think that’s the law in WV, but don’t quote me on that — I don’t see these terribly often, call me if you want me to do some research for you on it) then they’ll start paying you your share of the royalties. Depending on the size of your interest it could be pretty nice. However, as a partner, things become more complicated. I recommend that unless you are already extremely familiar with the oil patch or you badly want to spend the next year of your life getting a really good education into it, just sell. Call the office if you’d like to discuss it some more.

  27. I have what I believe to be a unique situation regarding property in Ritchie County WV. The will reads: 2. “the right to receive a certain gas rental check on xxxx from the xxx Company, and I also give, devise and bequeath unto xxxxx whatever mineral rights said check represents.” 3. “all of my interest in a certain oil and gas lease on xxxx subject to the bequest to xxx(person named in 2.). hereinabove set out in Paragraph Second”. The persons named in 2 and 3 are different people. The property named in both 2 and 3 is the same. Who owns the mineral rights?

    • Wow. You’re correct that you have a unique situation. Somebody got way too complicated and didn’t explain themselves well.

      My initial thought is that both 2. and 3. only transfer an interest in the royalties, but I’d want to take a look at the full deed, the lease, any subsequent deeds and leases, maybe some previous deeds and leases in the chain of title, and do some research to see if courts had dealt with similar language in the past.

      The person that wrote this deed, or that had the deed written, wouldn’t just happen to be alive would they?

      • Of course not! Son owns the practice but is not willing to search for information with being paid, which I do understand.

        • You probably ought to have your son take a long look at that will and any notes that might still exist from the file. That could go a long way toward figuring out what the will intended.

  28. I have a 1/6th interest in mineral rights on 54 acres in Marshall County. I have received a 5 year lease bonus offer $3,000 per acre with 16% royalty on oil and gas, after post production costs. In light of declining oil and gas prices, is this a reasonable offer.

    • That’s not a bad offer, but keep in mind that their first offer is never the best they can do. Always ask for more. Also, make sure that you get a couple of protections built in to the lease. No Warranty of Title and an Indemnification clause are two absolute basic things you should request. If you’d like a little more in-depth help, call the office and set up an appointment. We can help you know what you’re getting into. 304-473-1403.

  29. my father has 1/14 minerals on 302 acres in Tyler county. He currently has a lease in effect and signed what I believe was a division order, but has not seen a royalty check yet. He was recently contact by Appalachian Resources to buy “one hundred percent (100%) of Seller’s right, title, and interest, in the Property” for $75,000. Further down in the contract it reads…”undivided one fourteenth (1/14) interest in 302.74 gross acres…”. I’m confused about what this company is wanting to buy, and should we be selling?

    • First, a little math. Your father owns 1/14 of 302 acres, or about 21.5 acres. The 302 acres is what’s called the “gross acreage” and the 21.5 acres is what’s called the “net acreage”. He’s been offered about $3,500 per acre to sell. That’s not too bad for a property that’s already leased. However, the more important consideration is whether you need money now or not. If not, I generally recommend you hold onto the property. Here are two articles you should read before making the decision. If you decide to sell, call the office at 304-473-1403 and we can help you negotiate with and close the deal with the company.

  30. My brother and I own a 1/60th interest in the mineral rights under 50.25 acres of land in Doddridge Co., along with several other tracts this being the smallest. Every so often we received checks from different O&G companies for production from various vertical wells that are on these leases. In 2013, we signed a lease modification on this tract. Lately, I have been locating and mapping out these various mineral tracts and a company that we have been receiving payments from does have a well on this tract. The problem is they have never paid any royalties to us or our family on this interest since the well was drilled in 1980, thus invalidating the lease we had on this tract. The monies they have been paying us was for a well on another tract.
    The company we signed the modification with has drilled 6 wells covering 3 units through this tract. The modification clearly states that it is to amend and include certain additional terms to the original lease and that all of its provisions are binding.
    So now we have 7 wells on this tract an no valid lease agreement on any of them.
    What do you suggest we do?

    • That’s an interesting situation you have. Without looking at the modification I wouldn’t be able to say for sure that the old lease has expired. If the old lease has expired there are certainly some royalties due to you, however, those royalties may not amount to much. I’d have to see the production numbers from the vertical wells to know for sure. Give the office a call at 304-473-1403 and we’ll take a look at it.

  31. My sister and I are waiting for a $6,000 check from Plains Marketing. At the same time. The company that has been in charge of the oil well wants $6,665 for operation costs. When we asked for a certified accounting of expenses associated with our oil well. We received what looks like an Office Depot carbonless hand written invoice. Just a few months ago. The operations company said we owed $800 and once we paid that. Plains Marketing would send us the remaining funds. During that time. Plains Marketing mistakenly sent our check to the operations company. Two weeks later, we receive a bill for $6665. We are one of thirty-two owners. My deceased dad owned this interest since the 80’s. As his heirs seems like just another oil well interest scam. Thanks for any help Mr. Nuttall.

    • It sounds like you own a working interest in the well. You probably will be in this situation until gas prices increase. However, if you own a royalty interest then there is something really strange going on.

  32. We have been approached by Statoil to purchase 2 1/2 acres of our property for a drilling pad. We are just the surface owners. They have offered 5,000 per acre. Is this a reasonable price, and what happened if we just decide not to sign a lease agreement, would they still be allowed to use our property?

    • That’s not a bad offer, but it’s certainly not a good one. I wouldn’t settle for less than $10,000 per acre, and I’d want it to be a temporary easement instead of a sale. I would also want some detailed restrictions regarding dust, noise, and water. I would also want them to spell out exactly what they will do if they breach the contract in some way. If you have fences or gates that will be affected, make sure they explain in the contract what they are going to do to repair/replace them if they even touch them. If there is good timber, set a price for it and mark a location on a plat where they can put the timber. If you have fishing or hunting on the property, make sure the agreement shows that they will not be hunting or fishing. Basically, if there’s something that can go wrong it will, and it needs to be dealt with in the contract.

  33. I own 25% of the royalty on a 77 acre tract in Rithie Co. on the Gilmer Co. line. I was recently offered 62,000. to sell what he called my 19 acre share of the rights. Just wondered if this is a fair price?

    • That’s a total of $3,200/acre to sell in Ritchie. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I think you can do a lot better than that if you’re willing to wait a while. The usual decision to be made here is whether you really need money now or whether you can afford to hold on to a long-term speculative investment. If you’re not sure about what would work best for you, give the office a call at 304-473-1403 and we’ll discuss it with you at no charge.

  34. My father is deceased and so isn’t my mother. My father remarried
    and had mineral rights in tyler county wv. Evidently my stepmother has
    been receiving royalties and has not informed the gas company of his
    death. In addition I learned the taxes for the mineral rights still in my
    mother and fathers name had gone unpaid by her for years. I redeemed
    the rights, does she still have legal rights to the mineral rights.
    any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Redeeming the rights just reinstates the ownership to the person who was not paying the minerals. You haven’t bought the minerals for yourself. It seems from the way you worded your question that you suspected that might be the case. As to receiving the royalties, your step-mother may have a right to that. It would depend on what your father’s will said (if he had one) and if he didn’t, what intestate law was applicable at the time of his death. In WV after 1992, the surviving spouse will get at least some of the minerals, depending on surviving children.

        • In that case you should have some right to the minerals, as a surviving child. So should all of your siblings. I think you should talk with your step-mother about it, and if she doesn’t agree to inform the oil and gas company, you should do it yourself.

  35. Mr. Nuttall,

    I was contacted by Antero Resources about being an heir to some mineral rights in WV. I recieved a lease in the mail with a “time sensitive” notification on it. It says I hae a net mineral ineterest of .00093 acres and they are offering a $200 flat rate to lease for 5 years and if they place it in a pooled unit and a wel is drilled, I’ll get % royalty. Is this fair? What information should I be looking for in the lease agreement? I live in Washington state and could really use some advice on how to proceed.
    Thank you,
    Wendy Brown

    • You have a tiny net mineral interest, but it’s still worth something because the company has to have a lease from you before they can drill. Ask for a larger bonus, ask for a higher royalty, ask for gross proceeds (so they can’t deduct post-production costs from your royalty), ask for a no warranty of title clause, ask for an indemnification clause, and remove anything from the lease that says you warrant that there are no wells or leases on the property. If you’d like us to take a look at the paperwork anyways, give us a call at 304-473-1403 and we’ll discuss whether hiring us makes any sense with such a small mineral interest.

  36. I have received a letter from Antero Resources regarding an oil & gas lease in Centerville District, Tyler County, WV. They believe that I may be an heir of a relative. Obviously, this will end up being divided among hundreds of heirs so I do not know what a reasonable offer is. They have offered me and several other family members a lease bonus of $250 and in the event that they place the property into a pooled unit for the purpose of production of oil and gas, they say I will receive a royalty of 15.00% (3/20th.). Is this reasonable and should I hire an attorney? I am clueless. Any help would be very much appreciated.

    • The bonus may or may not be reasonable, depending on how large an interest you hold. A pretty normal negotiated bonus amount in Tyler County is $4,000/acre. Ask the landman how many net mineral acres you own, and then you can do the math to determine if $250 is in the ballpark. Of course, even if it is, you should always ask for more. They won’t withdraw their offer; the worst they’ll do is say no to your counter-offer. The 15% is a pretty normal first offer in Tyler. You can negotiate up to 18%, and maybe more. I’ve heard rumors…..

      As to hiring an attorney, well, you’re asking an attorney whether you should hire an attorney. I would be thrilled if you hired me! I love doing this kind of work, and won’t turn down the chance to negotiate an oil and gas lease. Whether it’s worth it to you is entirely up to you. We should talk on the phone about it. For most of the people that I talk to it’s a purely financial decision, and I can help you determine in a shockingly short period of time whether it makes financial sense to hire me. For some people it’s more important to have an expert help them through a process that they know nothing about. I work for both, and I’m valuable to both. Give the office a call and set up a time when we can discuss it. 304-473-1403.

  37. I am just now finding out about oil and gas ownership in my family. I have signed a few leases and now one company wants me to sign papers for “pooling” and two other companies want to buy my interest in the mineral rights for $3000/acre. The properties are in Tyler and Jackson counties. Total acreage is around 450 acres. I don’t want to get taken on this deal. Thank you.

    • The price isn’t right. Definitely take some time to do your research on this. Tyler County is the best place in West Virginia to own minerals right now, and you can sign a lease for $3,000 per acre without hardly negotiating at all. I wouldn’t settle for less than $8,000 per acre to sell, and I would consider that to be bottom basement price. Jackson County property isn’t hot at all right now, but I think it has excellent potential. Once the price of natural gas gets up around $4.00/MCF the companies are going to start exploring new areas, and Jackson County should be a good one. It has potential for the Marcellus/Burket, the Utica, and a number of formations in the Rome Trough. Nothing over there has been well explored yet, though. I recommend you don’t sell, as the minerals will be more valuable over time if they get developed. It’s a long term, speculative investment, but the payoff is awfully good. If you do need to sell, we can help you with that. We have a list of buyers and can guide you through the sales process.

      On the pooling agreement, you’ll want to look that over very closely. Some are written to only include pooling, but some include a lot of other things, and you need to study it to be sure it’s not going to hurt you in any way. I recommend you give the office a call and set up a short appointment to discuss it with me, just to be safe.

    • There’s not a huge amount of development in Roane County right now, but I would try for $2,000 per acre on the bonus. The thing about Roane County is that it could possibly have a large number of producible formations under it, or it could just have the Marcellus and Burket. I think time will tell, because the oil and gas companies aren’t. If you’ve been offered a lease by someone you should just make sure to ask for more. If you triple the number they offered you, you probably won’t do too badly on the bonus.

      • I was offered $20.00 per acre with no bonus and 1/8 of the royalities and free gas. I thought that was low. When the exploration company called me back he said the best they can do is $30.00 per acre. I’m orginally from NJ, I really don’t know much about mineral rights. Is there a way I can market them to have other energy or exploration companies contact me. Thanks, I appreciate your prompt response on the above matter. Tom.

  38. If a storage well is pumping into storage,and then set up to use gas in production line and left in the production line for 2 years is it stile a storage well,

    • I think a little more information would be helpful. Can you explain what you mean by “set up to use gas in production line”? Do you mean the well is now pulling gas out of the storage field and putting it into a production line? Or is the well being used for something else?

  39. If I find a mineral rights lease agreement from 1965 in some of my mothers old papers is it worth researching. The lease was for 10 years to research/setup. Then 45 years to as long as commencement of operations by the oil company. This is for my father’s family and his name is on the lease. Just asking that side of the family would be a waste of time as my father was out of the picture most of my life and is now deceased. Any documents he may have had are now in the hands of his step-children. Thank you

    • 45 years, huh? Yeah, this could be worth tracking down. It’s probably been assigned from company to company. Call up the courthouse and see if they can send you their copy. It may have notes in the margins that show who it was assigned to. If not, it’s probably a dead lease. If it’s in the right county, it could be worth a lot. There’s a lot to be found out, first.

  40. Is it reasonable for an OG company to offer a signing bonus, then a clause to offset this signing bonus $ for $ against future royalties?

    • You’ll find this kind of language in some modern leases, but won’t find it in other modern leases. I would have it removed before signing a lease.

  41. I waa sent a Lease (myself and 10 cousins) for mineral rights to.16.23 acres in the wv Appalations! We are being offered $250.00 each to sign. We are all uneducated in.this area and most of us are poor! Are we being mislead? The lease inducates MAP 9 Parcel 7.1. Any suggestions you can offer would be appreciated

    • The bonus offered you may be appropriate, but most likely is not. If the 10 of you own equal shares, and nobody else owns any of the 16.23 acres, then you each hold 1.623 net mineral acres. In some counties in the state, $250 is a good price for 1.623 acres. In other counties, that’s an absurdly low amount.

      If you only have a tiny net mineral acreage (say 0.01623 acres) then you’re getting a great deal. But ask for an Indemnification Clause and a No Warranty of Title clause. Also, ask for Gross Proceeds. Also, see if you can negotiate the royalty amount up. Get what you can, then sign it.

  42. I have a particular situation regarding some minerals in Raleigh County, WV where CNX gas in claiming the Non-apportionment rule on up to four wells that are drilled closer to my property than the original well drilled that is holding my minerals. I am interested in having an attorney look into this situation to determine whether I have the ability to claim the apportionment rule base on a proportionate reduction clause in my lease and the duty of fair dealing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Well, you learn something new every day. That’s one of the things I love about being an attorney, especially in oil and gas. I hadn’t heard about the apportionment rule until I read your post. Here’s what I’ve found out about it. If you sell part of your property while there’s an oil and gas lease in place, and a well is drilled on the part you sold, all the royalty goes to the owner of the part you sold. I don’t think it applies in WV, but feel free to correct me as I haven’t dug deep into the research. From what I know about West Virginia law, if you keep back the minerals when you sell the property, you’ll get all the royalties, and if you sell the minerals when you sell the property, the buyer will get all the royalties. You could contract around this by saying that as long as the existing lease is effective, you get all the royalties.

  43. The oil company is holding our” feet to the fire” about drilling on our land Ritchie County. They are using a five dollars bonus we agreed to in 1990 and the 12.5% royalty as the reason for us not getting any additional offering. But at the same time they are offering our neighbors 3000 dollars an acre and 15% royality stating that theirs is a new lease. The lease they have that I signed in 1990 has only two of the mineral right owners signatures, that would be mine and one of the other owners. My question is what about all the other mineral owners? We are not their agent,. Is this a valid contract without all of the parties involved names on the Contract? To my knowledge, they were never contacted or involved in the contract established in 1990. Thanks for your thoughts or comment about the 1990 agreement. Terry Kiessling

    • I feel for you. Yours is not a fun situation. I hate to have to tell you this, but your lease is valid, but only as to the interests of those people that signed it. Anyone else who has an interest in the lease who didn’t sign it has not been leased. The company is not supposed to be able to develop the property without signing all the interests. There are ways around that rule, of course. I’m not sure why they are holding your feet to the fire. You’ve already signed, so they shouldn’t have to deal with you. If you still want some help with this, give me a call and I’ll see if there’s anything I can do for you. 304-473-1403.

  44. Hello, Kyle,

    Just reading your history, and I see your from Oregon, my daughter lives in Sherwood Oregon both she and her husband are geologists. I have property in Doddrige, Lewis, and Gilmer Counties. My question is about leases signed in the 1906 range that are still enforced, the lease is with Dominion. I receive a small check every month for .50c, why are they waisting the stamp cost and check processing on a .50c transaction? My conclusion is they want me to cash the checks so any previous agreement/lease will be enforced without negotiating a new lease. Is this a probable cenerio?

    • Oregon is a beautiful state! I’ve driven through Sherwood many a time. West Virginia and Oregon have a lot of similarities, but I still miss my childhood home.

      You are exactly right. As long as they’re making payments as required by the old lease, it will still be in effect. Those old wells can produce small amounts of gas forever, it seems. It also seems ridiculous and unfair. One of these days I’ll figure out a way of getting these old pointless leases voided, but for now it seems they’re going to stick around.

  45. Hi Kyle,
    I was interested to know if you have talked to my sister-in-law DK Huneycutt about our oil and gas lease in Harrison County, I have been unable to reach her and not sure if she planned to move forward with hiring you to help us in this matter? Please call me today to update me I have received another confusing lease in the mail yesterday and would like info before I contact Percheron about this matter.

  46. Mr Nuttall: Would like to talk with you regarding a Title search for mineral rights in Tyler County. I started a discussion “James Ireland Estate” several days ago.

    Tried your E-mail address but message was returned!

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