Possible Changes Coming to Landowners With Oil, Gas Wells - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Possible Changes Coming to Landowners With Oil, Gas Wells

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The first oil well was drilled in Crawford County in the 1800s. Now, nearly 200 years later, there's some worries about the future for those with wells on their property, especially for those who have had wells for many years.

"The problem is most of the oil leases prior to Marcellus, don't say anything about pooling," said Paul Yagelski of Rothman Law Firm in Pittsburgh. "Accordingly, they're going to be in this. They're going to be forced to come in this."

A "pool" is something that will allow energy companies to lump many landowners together. It's a new part of the Oil and Gas Lease Act passed two weeks ago. And as Yagelski explained, it's changing the way many landowners will receive their royalties from wells. Even those who have a pooling provision, could see a change.

"If those landowners in a pool cannot come to an agreement, the oil and gas companies will tell them what they're going to get."

Landowner Judy Shumaker called this bill a double-edged sword. She hates to see any freedom of choice be taken away, but knows how difficult it can be for a large group to agree. But, she also understands the need for local drilling.

"In our area, where the population is dense as opposed to areas out west, I think it might be necessary in order to have gas companies be successful."
 State Representative Brad Roae, (R) 6th District, said this bill could have a positive impact on the region, particularly when it comes to people receiving money that may not have before.

"This is probably one of the top growing industries in Pennsylvania. It's great that we have all this natural gas, right under our feet." 

The bill will officially take effect on September 7.


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