Another Belmont County Landowner Threatened with Forced Pooling

In April MDN told you about a landowner in Belmont County, OH who had questions and objections to phrasing in a proposed lease agreement from XTO Energy that talks about “nuisance oil” (see XTO Threatens Belmont County, OH Landowner with Forced Pooling). NEVER sign a lease without running it by a competent oil & gas attorney, and ALWAYS get the sometimes obscure terminology in a lease explained before you sign it. That’s our advice. We have another story along the same lines as the “nuisance oil” story–language that energy companies can’t or won’t explain to landowners. This one also comes from Belmont County, OH–perhaps the hottest of the hot places for drilling right now in the Utica Shale. A landowner from Martins Ferry, OH says XTO offered him an eye-popping $8,000 per acre signing bonus with 20% royalties, and Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners offered $6,000 per acre with 20% royalties. Both have a “market enhancement clause” in the lease. The landowner didn’t like the clause, fearing it would reduce his royalties. The landowner was told by either XTO or AEP or both (we’re not sure), that they would force pool him if he didn’t sign. By force pooling him he would not get a signing bonus at all and only a 12.5% royalty. These kinds of strong-arm tactics give the industry a black eye in our opinion…

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