In the fall of 2008, most of our neighbourhood signed with Carrizo oil in a SWAPO lease arrangement. We signed too, but our bonus payment bank draft bounced. Carrizo refused to discuss anything with us over the past two years, and while all but roughly 20 families were paid a bonus for their 3 year lease, we were not. We didn't hire a lawyer at that time because we couldn't afford to. We found out from the signing agent that roughly 20 households had been treated this way, (bounced bank drafts) but they wouldn't give us any information to find those people.
Every call, email, etc to Carrizo in Houston was met with a stone wall. They told us one time that they would get back to us, the person I last spoke to doesn't work there, blah blah blah. Eventually they disavowed any knowledge of the contract. I made calls and complaints, but got nowhere.
Now, today, after 2.5 years, they called us and want to discuss mineral rights. I did a quick search, and I see they have an active drilling permit in our area, dated roughly 3 weeks ago. I am still FUMING furious over their cheating us, their lack of concern over the bounced bank draft and refusal to discuss it with us, or make payment.That original three year term expires in September.
I would like to get back payment for the first contract before even considering discussing their future options. I expect that if they are going to drill, their other signed offers are going to get extensions that tie them to lower rates since they would just let them expire and offer lower if that worked for them.. therefore I think we might be able to negotiate a better deal.
What kind of leverage do we have now, that they are calling? I am going to try to see an Oil and Gas attorney, but would like a heads up of what we should be asking for. It isn't a huge amount of land, just your typical suburban lot of about an acre, but we were treated badly before and I don't trust Carrizo one iota.
Should we shop around our mineral rights and see what the other companies offer for it? Will Carrizo have to make a deal, or can they steamroll us?
I am rather overwhelmed by the volume of information on this site, and would like to be pointed in the right direction. A recommendation for a reputable Oil and Gas attorney in the Arlington area would also be hugely appreciated.