When approached by an oil or gas company or landman to lease your property, landowners should consider the following before entering into a lease:
- Talk to your neighbors about their experiences with an oil and gas well. Sometimes, a neighbor in your area may have already had a company drill a well on their property. Ask them about their experiences with the well and the company operating it. Are royalty payments timely? Was the well site reclaimed both timely and properly?
- Talk to the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management to see if the company wanting to drill on your property is reputable. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (DOGRM) is the regulatory agency over oil and gas operations in Ohio. If you would like to know a company’s safety record or other regulatory information, contact DOGRM at (614)265-6633.
- Consider seeking legal assistance to review your lease before signing it. A lease is a legal document between the landowner (lessor) and an individual or company (lessee) that allows the company to drill and develop the oil and gas minerals beneath the property. It is important to seek the opinion of legal counsel before you enter into a valid, binding lease agreement.
- Make sure you own the mineral rights to your property. Every piece of property comes with a bundle of rights. These rights include surface rights (IE – your property rights) and subsurface rights (IE – mineral rights). It is important to check previous lease agreements for wells drilled on your property or your property’s title to make sure it is free and clear of any encumbrance.
- Talk to the oil and natural gas operator about what is important to you. Remember that the leasing process is a negotiation. For example, if you want the equipment associated with oil and natural gas production in a certain area of your property, talk to the operator about it before signing a lease.