I'm looking into purchasing a piece of property in PA that already has a gas lease on it. It is 24 acres and the well is pretty much nearly in the center of the property. The lease was signed in 1990. The owner has said they want to retain OGM rights to possibly sell down the road if they need money. I have so many concerns.
My biggest concern above all else is not having someone come in and change up my land to put in new drilling, etc. I've read that a new well can't be drilled/placed within 1,000 feet of an existing or even a plugged/capped well, but I don't know if that is always true, sometimes true, or true at all. I would prefer no new wells or anything gets done to the property (new access roads, clearing of trees, etc).
They advertise the property as having free gas, but if that lease is with the current owner and I take over the property, would the gas company have an out to say the free gas was only for them? Is there wording in the lease agreement I should look for? I know a lawyer is most likely needed to answer those questions.
My guess is they want to retain the rights in case fracking/horizontal drilling would occur under the property and they could get paid for it, and then if it doesn't happen and they need to, they can sell the rights. I suppose I can live with that. I am NOT a fan of how surface and subsurface rights can be owned by different parties, but that's the world we (or should I say "state I") live in.
It's also been suggested that maybe I could get the OGM rights negotiated in, but I have no idea what to offer with a well already on the property, and if no new wells could be put in, then that really only leaves the chance of fracking. They have told me that their royalty checks are only around $20/month lately, which makes me think the life of the well (and the free gas) is soon to end.
I'm sorry for the long first post, I've been searching the internet for answers and as is the case with the internet, you can get overwhelmed and get all kinds of different answers. SO when I stumbled across this forum, I thought it might be a good place to ask my questions.
Thoughts, answers, or other concerns I should have?
Thank you all in advance.