Eastern Ohio Landowner Group Nears Deal for Marcellus Lease – Terms Include $3,700 per Acre, 17.5% Royalty

A group of landowners with 20,000 acres in Jefferson County and Harrison County, in eastern Ohio, is nearing a lease deal to allow Marcellus Shale drilling. One of the energy companies in the final bidding is XTO Energy (now a division of Exxon Mobil).

The thought of property owners in Jefferson and Harrison counties getting $3,700 per acre in lease payments with 17.5 percent in production royalties for natural gas rights used to just be a dream.

Now, however, mineral rights lawyer Joseph Corabi said this is the position in which landowners in the two counties find themselves. He said four companies are bidding to gain access to the more than 20,000 acres controlled by the collective he represents.

Corabi said these amounts are the minimum figures his clients expect to receive from the companies looking to drill in these areas, which are perhaps best described as being mostly in the Buckeye Local, Indian Creek Local, Edison Local and Harrison Hills City school districts.

"The acreage is really scattered throughout the counties," he said, "but a lot of it is in those areas."

So from Richmond and Irondale in the north, to Smithfield and Adena in the south, to Cadiz in the west and Wintersville in the east, the two-county area seems destined to see even more gas drilling activity that it is witnessing now.

Records from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show Chesapeake Energy, CNX Gas Corp., Ohio Buckeye Energy and Marquette Exploration are in the process of drilling for gas in Jefferson and Harrison counties now.

Although Corabi did not want to disclose the companies with whom he is in negotiations, he confirmed one of them is Exxon Mobil, the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, working through it’s subsidiary, XTO Energy.*

*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jul 18, 2011) – Drilling Deals Sought