Drilling Creeps Southward According to WV County Clerks

The land records room at the Wood County, WV Courthouse has not seen a lot of oil and gas lease research–yet. But that may change. When the records room for a given county starts to be overrun with researchers, that’s a sure sign that Marcellus (or Utica) Shale drilling is on the way. The very first thing that happens is researchers must locate who owns a given property, and then landmen head into the field to get them to sign a lease. So when a land records rooms becomes congested, you know it’s not long until leases are signed and drilling begins.

Woods County Clerk Mark Rhodes says he’s been told researchers have descended on neighboring Pleasants County (northeast of Woods) and that the crowd of researchers in Pleasants will migrate south to Woods in about six months. Here’s an inside look at the challenges faced in tracking down who owns the mineral rights for a given piece of property–especially in WV where mineral rights were severed from surface rights for many landowners years ago…

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