Welcome to the

Harrison County Ohio Landowners Group
Greetings to Harrison County Landowners!

If you own mineral rights in Harrison County, are a surface owner interested the consequences of drilling activity, or are a concerned citizen of the county wanting to make sure that gas and oil development has a good and lasting impact upon our county, then read on. The Harrison County Ohio Landowners Group (HCOLG) has two goals:

Protection: We want to protect our County's rich natural resources like our soil and water, and also our infrastructure, like our roads and bridges. We want to protect the rights of our landowners and mineral owners, so they can know that their land is protected, and that they are fully benefitting from the rights they have as mineral owners.

Boosting the Economy: We help landowners find the best leasing situation that suits their needs, combining high monetary compensation with outstanding landowner-friendly lease terms. Every dollar of revenue we can achieve for our landowners is money circulating in our county. Once leased, we help royalty owners make sure they are getting their fair share of revenues.

The way we are helping to accomplish these goals is by sharing information with landowners about gas and oil drilling activities in the County. Leasing of mineral rights is a decision that will span a generation, and informed landowners are better able to make the right decisions. There is plenty misinformation surrounding gas leasing, and we strive to present current and factual information.

If this is something that interests you, then please read on about the brief history of how we got to where we are, read through an example of a good lease, and learn how to become a member of HCOLG.

There is a long history of gas and oil exploration in Ohio, but over the past few years there's been a huge surge in oil and gas exploration and development all across Appalachia in two deep shale formations called the Marcellus and the Utica. These formations stretch across much of Pennsylvania, into New York State and parts of West Virginia and Eastern Ohio. Producers began leasing land in Pennsylvania many years ago, and for the past few years have been active in eastern Ohio, mainly involving the Utica Shale. During the early days of the "play" the resource had not been proven by drilling and production, and so a typical lease offer was about $100 per acre for a five year term along with a royalty of 12.5% (1/8) of any production. As the gas (and oil) began to flow out of these new wells, the formations proved to be very productive, and a frenzied period of leasing began. The gas companies knew more about the value of the resource under the land than did the landowners. This often resulted in the landowner signing a lease at a price and terms well below the fair market value of his resource. The lure of a big up-front payment was too attractive to refuse even though it might have represented only a small fraction of the true value being sold. Lease offers began to climb dramatically for informed landowners, reaching more than $5000 per acre and 20% royalty for those who waited and were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.

It became apparent to some landowners that the playing field was tilted strongly in favor of the producers and the landmen that represented them. To offset this advantage various individuals began to form landowner groups to pool landowners into large blocks often containing tens of thousands of acres. This process resulted in some of the most favorable financial and land-protective lease terms.

In our region of Harrison County the Utica Shale is more productive than the Marcellus. In fact we are in the heart of a transition area called a "wet zone", where we have gas, oil, and other gas liquids all together in the shale. In the current market, this makes our shale very desirable.

We've had drilling in our county for decades, but these were mostly shallower, vertical-only wells. With new horizontal drilling technologies being used to drill into these deep shale layers, the gas in these formations has become cost-effective to recover. This new drilling is different in several ways from the drilling that Ohio landowners are used to. For one, drilling is deeper, reaching 5000 to 9000 feet down. Another difference is the horizontal portion of the drill bore, which extends 2500 to 9000 feet out along the shale seam and allows for extracting much more gas from one well. Coupled with this is the improved use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracing, which has been technologically advanced to dramatically increase gas flow in these "tight" shale formations. The horizontal laterals allow for a much greater coverage area, so that a single well pad can handle the drainage of more than 1000 acres of land, thus greatly reducing the surface disturbance caused by the recovery of the gas. This means that most landowners who lease their minerals won't even have a well pad on their property.

As we learned in this county during the booming days of coal extraction, there are environmental factors to consider when harvesting these energy resources. Other natural resources, like our soil and water, will remain with us long after our gas is removed. One should not be sacrificed for the other. Protection of all of our natural resources is important, and should be provided for in any gas and oil lease contract. Environmental concerns must be addressed with great care. It is important that we protect our land while at the same time seek a fair compensation for our gas and oil. Most landowners are only vaguely aware of the complexities of oil and gas leases, so they are well advised to have an experienced O&G attorney review their lease.

At this point the leasing rush in Harrison County is over. Landmen are still researching courthouse records and calling individuals whose property is not already held by lease, but with most folks under lease and most of the larger parcels leased, the advantages of landowner groups for negotiating leases has passed. Drilling has commenced, and production has begun. Processing plants are under construction in several locations in the county, and a network of pipelines is being laid to collect and distribute the gas from the wells.

If you are still unleased, we can advise you of what your options are at this point. Also, if you have already signed a lease and are now a royalty owner, we can advise you and support you as drilling commences and you begin to receive payments. As a group, we can be a strong voice for the rights of landowners and mineral owners in this county. For the sake of protecting your land and helping Harrison County, please consider joining the Harrison County Ohio Landowners Group.

We are an association of gas and oil royalty owners in Harrison County, Ohio. We advocate for the surface and mineral rights of our members, and provide information and other support during the drilling and production of our minerals. We also provide information to those seeking to lease their minerals.