At first glance, an oil and gas lease may appear to be written in a foreign language. The various terms of art used in the lease, from delay rental to force majeure, have a unique meaning that has evolved over years of industry practice. As a landowner thinking about signing a lease, you need to understand what each of these terms means for you in a practical sense.
Lester Greevy and John Shoemaker have extensive experience reviewing leases from all of the major gas companies leasing in the Marcellus shale play. We know which provisions are negotiable, and which are not. We understand how your ability to negotiate a lease that will protect you as a landowner can change as the leasing environment evolves. Our office has helped thousands of landowners who have signed leases with each of the major companies in the Marcellus play.
Lester Greevy and John Shoemaker are experienced in pipeline rights of way issues including negotiations and eminent domain takings and have been successful in representing clients at Boards of View. They know how the Eminent Domain laws are designed to protect landowners.
The bottom line: make sure you understand everything before you sign anything.
The Marcellus gas play is becoming mature. This means that many landowners who have signed oil and gas leases are going to receive royalty payments over the coming years. The receipt of gas royalties may be a life changing experience. Landowners need to consider strategies to protect these royalties for future generations, while ensuring that they retain control over their land. We can provide guidance in long term planning to address these issues, and determine if the use of a Family Limited Partnership or a Trust would be of benefit. Royalty owners approaching a nursing home stay have a particular set of problems and we are able to guide the royalty owner in restructuring royalty receipts to protect them from catastrophic medical bills.
Many landowners don’t realize that oil and gas rights can be held as a separate estate from the surface rights. These property rights can become very splintered as they pass down through succeeding generations. The typical residential title search will go back fifty years and may miss oil and gas reservations from older deeds.
Our office performs thorough title searches specifically searching for oil and gas rights. If we find a potential title issue, we can evaluate the possibility of bringing an Action to Quiet Title to clear the cloud on the title. We have helped landowners in central Pennsylvania recover their oil and gas rights, allowing them to sign a gas lease.
Lester Greevy, John Shoemaker and Shelia Caldwell are Certified Mineral Managers by the National Association of Royalty Owners. Our office helps royalty owners to determine if they being paid the total amount due. Is your royalty calculated correctly? The typical Division Order specifying each landowner’s royalty interest is calculated to eight decimal places. We can help you answer all of these questions and review your Division Order, free of charge. We have the expertise to review your royalty checks to ensure that all of the deductions are proper, and that you are receiving the royalty payments to which you are entitled.
Frequently, it is beneficial for a landowner to own oil and gas rights separately from the surface of the land. Our office is experienced and very effective at transferring these rights to a separate ownership entity to protect landowners’ interests, such as avoiding unmanageable fractionalization of the oil and gas estate; protection of income and assets from nursing homes, divorce, and other creditors, including liabilities that occur on the surface; shelter from federal estate and gift taxation; and prepare for an orderly passage of oil and gas rights to future generations.
We are experienced with a variety of ownership entities to accommodate your unique situation, including Family Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, and Trusts. We can help you plan to avoid common mistakes and useless expense in establishing these ownership entities.
Oil and Gas Law
Lester Greevy and John Shoemaker are well recognized for their experience representing landowners on the many complex issues relating to development of the Marcellus shale. Whether you are a landowner considering signing an oil and gas lease, or are receiving royalties, Greevy & Shoemaker can provide guidance and assistance in working with the gas companies to reach your goals.