Information Landowners Should Know When Making Gas Exploration Deal

Drive just about anywhere in East Texas and you'll find signs of oil and gas exploration. Companies approach landowners to establish a drilling agreement. There is some important information property owners should know before signing on the dotted line.

The Angelina-Nacogdoches County Forest Landowners Association will provide detailed information about oil and gas exploration lease agreements Saturday, October 22nd in Lufkin. Attorney Albert Weatherly will be there to answer questions. The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. at the Angelina County Extension Service on the south loop.

Anyone owning acreage, whether it be a lot or a little, could get a knock on the door from a company man wanting to make a deal. This concerns Nolan Alders, the Forest Landowners Association president. "The average landowner in Nacogdoches and Angelina counties is uninformed about their rights, how much they got and what to expect."

Alders wants landowners to have the knowledge that will give them equal power at the bargaining table. "Some companies might come out here and give you $100 bonus money up front and lease your minerals for maybe 1/6th, 1/8th, 1/5th, or 1/4th. There's a great deal of difference in that."

There's not much negotiating for the property owner who doesn't own the mineral rights. Drilling can happen even with your disapproval, so you need to know what reimbursements to which you're entitled. "The landowner's pine trees have been taken down and the company should and will compensate for the loss of that timber."

Asking these questions doesn't imply that exploration companies are out to get you, but like with any business deal, you need to do you homework first. Alders said, "I found that exploration companies are now better than they've ever been and want to treat you right, but still, in business, we need to have people come to the table with common knowledge."

There's no argument the drilling activity is good for the local economy, but it's more satisfying when the property owners get their fair share.