A helpful article in The Marietta Times helps Ohio landowners better understand the complicated issue of old mineral leases signed decades ago that may still be in force. Before landowners can sign a new lease, the old claims must be officially removed.
The article advises landowners to get a lawyer’s assistance. Leases are often reassigned to new companies–some leases have been reassigned more than a dozen times. In order to get a release, you must first track down the current company that holds the lease, and then get them to sign off.
A company can respond in one of three ways.
"Easiest and least painful is getting a release of that lease from the oil and gas company," said [Columbus attorney Matt] Warnock, adding that doesn’t happen very often.
The other response is notification by letter that the lease remains in full force.
At that point, a landowner’s "only real remedy is filing a lawsuit," Warnock said.
The third response is silence. If the company does not respond within 60 days of receiving the notice or its publication, the landowner can ask the county recorder to note the cancellation of the lease on the original document.
"From a legal standpoint, by filing that, the lease is terminated," Warnock said.
Lawsuits to obtain a release from an old lease are tricky. Sometimes the language in the lease is less than helpful, with phrases like the lease is in effect as long as it’s producing gas (or oil). Others are in effect if they produce “paying quantities,” which can be defined in several ways.
Read the rest of this helpful article by clicking below.
*The Marietta Times (Mar 17, 2012) – Old lease issues may arise for landowners