There’s natural gas in dem dar hills and property owners should be well prepared before speaking to any speculators, brokers and energy companies trying to cash in on the liquid gold.
Large property owners in the region have been inundated by a blizzard of officials trying to cash in on natural gas that may be hidden in a layer of marcellus shale, between 7,000 and 12,000 feet below the surface.
About 90 of these landowners filled the Dunnstown Fire Hall Tuesday night looking for information on what to do when the gas companies come knocking at their doors.
The main message by officials from the Penn State Cooperative Extension is to be well prepared, so owners don’t lease their land for less than what it’s worth and to make sure the land is returned to near its present condition after a well dries up.
Pennsylvania is seen as being key for these natural gas companies as they look to find areas of natural gas that can be distributed as cheaply as possible to mainly New York and New England.
Landowners had been receiving offers for as little as $20 an acre a few years ago. However, those who have held out have been rewarded with the asking price now going as high as $2,000 to $3,000 an acre for a five-year lease.
This fact, along with potential royalties and other items were discussed in great detail Tuesday night, to the great benefit of landowners.
"Do your homework and know what you’re signing," urged Tioga County Cooperative Extension Director Earle Robbins. "Before signing anything, understand everything. Each of the clauses (in a lease) means something.
"Protect what you have. There are some more important things than money," he continued.
Remember, the gas companies are trying to do all they can to make as much money as possible from the gas that may be trapped under your ground. Don’t let them do it without getting your fair share, and make sure they abide by your conditions before signing a lease. Once a lease is signed, you can’t go back.
We expect a similar crowd to invade the Dunnstown Fire Hall on May 7 for the second part of the two-part workshop.
We encourage all who may be affected by natural gas leasing to contact the Clinton County Cooperative Extension Service at 726-0022 to discuss the issue with professionals.
More information about gas leases can also be found at www.naturalgaslease.pbwiki.com.