Leasing Dilema Question?

We have been approached regarding a small mineral interest (less that 1/4 net acre) in the Marcellus play. Landman has been patient and professional, and still willing to work out the tough part of negotiating a lease, and desires to proceed.

Being that the bonus money would barely pay an attorney to review, much less get involved in complicated negotiations (which the O&G Company would probably not entertain for such a small parcel) would it be advisable to "just not lease" or "go it alone" and not have attorney negotiate terms of the lease. I've been informed "if you don't lease, you'll never get paid" by the landman.

I'm a little worried about the complex legal descriptions locating the interest, and performance clauses, that would require us to document ownership, etc.

Thanks for any input from mineral owners who found themselves as owners of small mineral interests.

I am in similar situation. Will be following advice given to you!

generally, if you are not leased, you get no bonus money and you get to wait for any well to "pay out" to the operator. when that happens, then you get your money at your full interest level, less any direct expenses to obtain and market the products. if you google the oil and gas lease, you can probably find a lease that is more favorable to the lessor, and contains clauses that protect you. My interests are all in West Texas, and wouldn't necessarily deal with Marcellus. Perhaps one of the land men on here can help you.

Is this West Virginia?

Yes, this is in West Virginia.

I've read elsewhere, that O&G companies frown upon the "un-leased" mineral owner, and even those with good "no-cost/post production" provisions in their lease can have their royalties greatly reduced by the creative accounting practices of the gas companies. Is it realistic that I would reach any "pay out" on an interest this small?

Thanks for the responses.

Dear Mr. Childress,

Overt solicitation is against the Forum rules. I am not the forum police, but they do monitor activities.

Are you offering your services to Mr. Childress (and I guess others on other threads) for free?

If you are, that would be a very kind thing and it would be good to know.


Hi, Liz,

I think that he answered your question when he said that he "can help you negotiate a lease for a fraction of the cost an attorney would charge.".

Buddy Cotten

Mr. Cotton has been one of the most generous, helping experts on this forum, and he gives his advice here for free. I assume he has a business as well, but he does not solicit for that business on here.

The question is not whether you have expertise - you may or may not. The question is whether you are soliciting business on here. And that is certainly what you appear to be doing.


You are asking the wrong question. The question you should be asking is whether he solicits business on here. And he does not. You are.


Now see, that was advice and was OK. You offered it for free. And you are not wrong. But when you ask someone to give you a call for services that you are going to charge for, then you are soliciting business. Not OK on this forum.


We have more extensive acreage than Shelby and we hired an attorney to advise us. We were very happy indeed with his services. FYI, he also posts free and helpful advice on here frequently and his name is well known to many of us. We give him recommendations on this site whenever we can. So I am sure he gets business from this site but he never solicits business here. He doesn't have to.

So money can be made from this site but not from solicitating business. It comes from recommendations. Help some people on here and perhaps you will get recommendations too.


Thanks to all for the spirited discussions. What I requested was hopefully to solicit "advice" on whether, or, not an acreage position as small as mine would meet the cost/risk benefit of leasing. I consider the services of landmen, very different from the services of an attorney. One litigates, one researches. Most of us know the difference. I have been involved in a good number of lease negotiations with, and without, the services of landmen and attorneys, but, my question is open to anyone who might offer some logical advice, professional or otherwise.


Thanks for your comments and opinions. I have a 30 year back ground as a licensed real estate professional, so I am not a complete novice in contract law, mineral rights issues, etc. But, nothing prepares you for the world of the "oil and gas" business, like being in it. When I need attorneys, and the research skills of a landman, I seek them out and pay them. I appreciate the forums to discuss and exchange perspectives and facts that can benefit everyone involved, and it's free.


Dear Mrs. Childress,

Mea Culpa on getting your gender incorrect. My apologies, I did check your profile page before responding, but it was not listed.

What was listed was a contact for you as being, "You can always email me at contact@themineraladvocate.com."

Dear Shelby,

I am afraid that I can not offer any recommendation as to a cost/benefit analysis. There are too many unanswered questions. Also, I know nothing about West Virginia law on forced pooling (assuming that there is a forced pooling statute).

What I do think that I can answer is that a minor mineral interest does not have a lot of negotiating leverage, but you knew that anyway.

Warmest regards,

Buddy Cotten

Mr. Cotten, there is a new Co-Tenancy Law (their name for a forced pooling law) that was signed recently in WV and (I believe) has not yet become effective (early summer I think). It might not be so bad for a small acreage owner. But it in effect provides them with leases that are similar to those already leased (or have modified a lease to allow pooling). I think there are threads on this elsewhere on the site.

Thanks for the info on forced pooling in West Virginia. It is also my understanding that West Virginia has a minimum royalty provision for the non-leased mineral owner that is being forced pooled, and as a "market product" state, no post production costs can be factored in on determining the royalty payment. Based upon this reasoning, I think it might be best just to go un-leased, and hope that we are forced pooled. That way, no attorney fees, no liability or performance requirements tied to any lease. I hope my logic is sound here, and makes good sense.