I am new to the forum and have absolutely no experience on mineral leasing. My neighbors and I need help big time. We've been approached by a landman to lease our mineral rights. This is in Elbert County, Colorado. Most of the acreages in our area are 5 - 35 acre lots. At first, the landman would not tell us the operator he worked for, but did send me an email yesterday saying he had permission to release the name and it is Chesapeake Energy. He gave me a blank lease to look over. I'm pretty sure they are interested in the Niobrara formation, but not certain about that yet. I have gone through most of the posts here at this forum and have gotten quite a bit of good information on negotiating royalties, lease term and signing bonus, and deleting the warranty clause. Also the advice to not hire a lawyer right away is well taken. But, I have questions about the rest of the lease wording and when to get a lawyer involved and who to talk to in the meantime. Since our lots are mostly 5 acres, I am certain they will be pooled and in Colorado they can force pool. I would like more information on: protecting our rights/wording in the pool area of the lease (would that be the Pugh clause?); what is reasonable or preferred in the shut-in portion (shut in royalty is $1.00 per acre and lease kept in force during shut-in); asking for no surface access? (which would drastically reduce the size of the granting clause and wording elsewhere on use of water, digging of pipelines, etc.); someone added an "indemnity clause" to their lease (what is that?); on the gas royalty part they state market value at the mouth of the well or if not sold at the mouth than no more than the actual amount and also less any costs and applicable taxes (is this normally negotiated/changed?); lease states it is a paid up lease, not obligated to pay rental or commence drilling during primary term (any changes to that?); and lease contains a release clause that releases lessee of all obligations to accrue (not sure what that means).
The landman has asked 3 times now to contact him if we want to lease our minerals. I have not called him back yet. If I start to negotiate a lease, I would want to know about these other areas before talking to the landman. So, who do you get advice from to know what you're talking about? And, do they have to notify you before you are force pooled? Too many questions?