The Brooke County, WV Board of Education on Monday approved a lease deal with Chesapeake Energy that will allow natural gas drilling beneath school-owned property. The deal allows Chesapeake to drill under any of the school’s collective 189 acres, which is scattered throughout the county at different locations. The signing bonus is $3,500 per acre for each acre drilled, plus 18 percent royalties.
Assistant Brooke County Prosecutor David F. Cross, the board’s legal counsel, said a key point during negotiations for the lease was the board’s desire that no well be built on school property and Chesapeake has agreed to that condition.
Cross said the agreement also states both parties must mutually agree on the locations of pipelines and access roads for the site.
The agreement allows underground drilling to occur at any property, throughout the county belonging to the school district, but board officials acknowledged interest was expressed in land near Brooke High School.
They didn’t know where a well drawing from the site will be built or when construction will begin.
Cross said Chesapeake and Chevron both submitted proposals for leases but Chesapeake was favored because it had secured leases surrounding the property so they were more likely to move forward with drilling, offered more money and agreed to the stipulation that a well not be built on any school property.*
*Weirton (WV) Daily Times (May 1, 2012) – Brooke board, Chesapeake OK deal