Gastar Deal to Lease Under the Ohio River in WV Falls Apart

Remember the brouhaha over energy companies bidding to drill on land underneath the Ohio River in West Virginia? We told you about one such lease–Gastar won a bid on a 232-acre tract underlying the river at the border of Marshall and Wetzel counties. They paid $3,500 per acre as a signing bonus and 20% royalties in their winning bid (see Gastar Wins Lease to Drill Under Ohio River in WV). There were just a few minor details to settle before the deal closed. Guess what? Gastar never closed the deal. Since October 2014 the price of natural gas has crashed, making it uneconomical to drill in many (most?) locations, and Gastar didn’t want to part with its precious capital–so no deal was never finalized. And now the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is about to call the deal dead and shop it again. Problem is, it’s now a buyer’s market for leases, not a seller’s market as it was in October 2014. WV won’t get anywhere near the same terms this time around, of that we’re sure…

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