Rural Newcomerstown area land owners will now have some useful information and resources to utilize when they are considering a possible gas-oil lease on their property. According to Ohio Farm Bureau Director for Energy Services Dale Arnold, there are many issues to consider and research before signing any potential gas-oil lease agreements. An information session, attended by approximately 50 people, was presented by Arnold at the David Barber Civic Center Sept. 10.
Some of the information presented included what to do if a property owner is approached about signing a gas-oil lease. Arnold suggested landowners should start by obtaining a baseline about their land, this included knowing what is in your soil and water before hand. Research any and all old deeds, previous gas-oil leases that may have been signed by family members, or previous property owners. According to Arnold, the county recorder is the best place to start your research.
Arnold also warned against signing any checks that arrive in the mail that may be concerning old leases. He said to have these leases thoroughly researched before signing any agreement, or checks in order to ensure the property owner will receive the appropriate royalties from their lease. Arnold suggested landowners also check the lease rental fees as these vary throughout Ohio. He said a landowner should attempt to negotiate for the most reasonable lease rate possible.
He said that property owners can contact their county health department sanitarian to have water sources tested, and county extension office to have soil checked. He said testing could cost anywhere from $150 to $275, adding that they will also work with a landowner's association to get group effort for testing if there are several parties involved in the land ownership. Arnold said a county soil and water conservationist can also be a helpful resource to turn to during this time.
He suggested landowners that are seriously considering gas-oil lease should have any detrimental issues that were identified with the soil or water corrected, then have soil and water re-tested.
Arnold said landowners should also be aware of what will occur before, during, and after the process of access, drilling, and reclamation. He added that the state and federal law requires reclamation of a site to be completed within nine months, according to weather conditions, after a well or pipeline has been installed to prevent erosion or pollution to the land.
Potential lease agreements should also be assessed to confirm the payments for any damage to property with the before, during, and after process. Arnold said wording makes the company liable for damages to water (quality and quantity), crops, trees, fences, structures, tile lines, ditches.
Arnold also discussed hydrofraction technology, and the differences of open and closed containment systems. Arnold said Ohio has been an open frack state since 1963. The public records are open to the public and the company must disclose the types of chemicals, and compounds that will be used.
For those that missed the information session, and have an interest in the topic, a copy (electronic or hard copy) of Arnold's presentation can be obtained by contacting him at email@example.com or by calling 614-246-8294. The address is Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, 280 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43218.