OH Landowners Faced with Lease Extension Decision – What to Do?

David Wigham is a second-generation Ohio oil and gas attorney with nearly 25 years of experience in the industry. He recently wrote an article outlining the current situation in Ohio (and beyond) of renegotiating shale leases. Typically landowners sign a five-year lease with an energy company. If the company fails to drill on/under the property during that five-year period, there is usually a provision allowing the energy company to renew the lease for an additional five years–provided they make a new bonus payment. But here’s the conundrum for drillers: with the price of oil and gas so low, drillers don’t have enough cash to drill right now, and they don’t have enough cash to pay big bonuses for another five years. Many leases are now coming due at the five-year mark. What to do? Drillers are going back to landowners and asking them to renew the lease–but instead of receiving a lump sum bonus payment for the next five years, drillers are asking if they can pay landowners one year at a time, over the next five years. Should a landowner take the deal?…

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