Risky Business – OH Landowner Group Wants to Lease Sans Lawyer

A Utica Shale landowner group in Muskingum County, OH with 90,000 acres available for lease has embarked on a risky venture. They want to strike a deal on behalf of their members to lease property for $5,000 per acre and 20% royalties. Certainly no problem with that–sounds like a fair deal in a “wet gas” area like Muskingum County, OH. The group is asking the Muskingum County Commissioners to not shop county land below that asking price (something that happened in neighboring Coshocton County) as that would undercut their bargaining power. We also have no problem with that–sounds like a smart strategy.

However, the landowner group wants to cut a deal with a driller without the help of attorneys. Attorneys typically take a small per-acre fee in return for their legal guidance on very complicated oil and gas drilling contract law. You can be sure the driller drawing up a lease agreement has an army of attorneys working on it–so why would you willingly disadvantage yourself by not using one too? It comes down to money…

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