I understand leasing anonymously and that is somewhat understandable. People still need to protect themselves from leasing to flippers or leasing to a shell company that it is hard to "go after" if needed. Frankly, I signed with well established well known landmen (local company) that was leasing anonymously and the leases (over 1000) were still canceled ONLY by their client (other leasing paid). it took legal action to determine the client was CHK.
So when being contacted by anyone (Landman or direct gasco) be sure to investigate them. Get their exact name and google them, check them out on boards like this and check with your state registry (secretary of state) to confirm they are licensed to do business in that state. As I noted, watch carefully the exact name because as I have said, a tactic is to name a shell company a name very close to an existing big name to confuse a landowner and/or provide instant, yet inappropriate, credibility.
I would be interested to have someone post the exact name of Westphal - just for an exercise, let's see who they are. And as far as who their client is - just tell them you won't sign unless you get documented proof of who their client is (just try it, if they want your land, they just may agree). You can really push them by including a clause in the lease that does not permit transfer/sale of the lease (this will stop flippers).
and lastly - regardless, whomever anyone signs with - ONLY ACCEPT CASH (company check, cashier check) and do not release the signed lease until you have "cash in hand".
of course, not to mention the lease details; which is an entirely different subject. Even if your sign bonus is low (or high) it is imperative that much time be spent refining the lease to provide landowner protections and compensation. EVERY LEASE that a landman will first present will be written with TOTAL favoritism toward the gasco - BE CAREFUL!
I am extremely pro gas, pro exploration, pro frack and believe the industry and especially the shale boom (both gas and oil) is of critical importance to our country. Unfortunately, you must be careful when leasing and I recommend working with an attorney that is an expert in gas/oil leasing (not just any atty, but a pro).
Jason Schluter said:
I have no doubt that Westphal is working for a big oil company, but there is no way they are going to tell you who it is. That is the whole point of these big companies hiring out the small landman to lease up land for them. They don't want everybody knowing what they are doing. In most cases you can get a good idea though if you look at who these smaller companies have worked for in other areas. I see what you are saying about having the exact name of the company though.
just be careful and know who you are signing with.