In the beginning of this great Utica play on GMS archives, landowners can read in real time the evolution of the play up to the minute today, this is phenomenal and most likely unprecedented.  The lack of knowledge and experience in a play most likely damaged landowners and yet created immediate wealth for many.

This writer who ran a sleepy land mangement company in Ohio, constantly provided insight, knowledge and understanding on GMS in order for all landowners to grasp the industry that required for their survival the minerals owned by each and every landowner in ther Utica shale. 

In the beginning, another phenomenon which sprang up immediately was the massive landgroups and this vehicle for many seemed to be the organization to protect, organize and lead the landowners.  Rather than revisit the enromous amount of information  relative to landgroups, I leave it to the reader to gain this knowledge on GMS.

What needs to be said and what has been needed from the beginning is Land Management and following is why many landowners have made serious mistakes which many times unfortunately are permanent:

1.  Land management is a team of qualified professionals with experience individuals working strictly in behalf of the landowner.

2.  Landowners require assistance from the beginning of a play and for the life of the industry in a play.

3.  Pooling resources (legal,engineering, monitoring, accounting, research) is economical and affordable allowing a landowner to continue their normal lives.

4.  Basically a land management group is identical to property management in real estate however specialized.  Sadly, land management is rare in this play.

This is an opener and is meant to further the debate and education of us landowners as we continue down this journey.  And, I strongly believe this is needed more than ever today.





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As you know I am not a fan of land owner groups. They remind me of used car lots just looking for the one time sale, and they will say anything to get you to buy a piece of garbage.

From what you have said so far I find this "Land Management" concept interesting. If I understand correctly it's a one stop resource for the needs of the land owner, and it's a fee for service operation.The Land Management companies are paid for the services they provide, not rape land owners of their bonus money or royalties.

So a land owner could get help with lease negotiation, ROW negotiation, accounting for royalty payments, legal services all from one firm. The land owner would have a resource for the entire life of the wells on their properties.

Is this correct ?

Land management is more of a passive service, and not an aggressive salesman endeavor.  You either want someone professionally to look after your property or you don't. 

Over a year ago when we first heard of Columbiana getting $1500, some of our landowners asked shouldn't we lease?  Our team studied as much as we could and came back with the wait and see approach for Mahoning county.   many of us in real estate all our lives knew that most of the time you need to see exactly what they want your land for, we felt that with the first two wells in the Utica (recent) meaning something since the second one was an $8 million investment in Milton.


Would there be an up front fee for the service.

Is there some free advice ?

Fang I would say nothing would be free and I am sure an up front fee. problem is finding experienced 'land managers" I am sure they would be like used car salesman and

1. tell you what you want to hear to get you to join

2.make deals or "manage" your property to benefit them or their company so it would be no dif. than a land group.

drive over to new castle and look at all the poor land managment that has gone on ,empty store fronts,vacant malls ,un developed land.

   check out the building behind sears that used to be a Hills/peebles and is now empty. This building wasnt used more than a couple years after being built.great "management "there

some bash the land groups and it seems of late there is just cause but I think if you look across Pa they have done lots for this industry to get the sign on bonus where it is today.

many sat back and waited and got a good bonus on there own after the mt jackson group drove the price up.Fact is the leases are not as good (terms) and unless you had a good amount of ground you had no bargaining power.

there are still some around me that held out and have now been left out,no one is leasing and if they are the amount is way less. will it come back up? maybe but I think they have way more acres than they can pos. drill in the3 1/2 years they have left on these 5yr leases.

  I ask you this: if you are leased and have say 10 acres and when your lease is up and your current co. does not renew would you join a group or go it on your own?

how would you proceed to get a good lease ,good bonus and actully get a gas co. to return your phone calls?

  I would like to know because I tried this exact thing 3-4 years ago with far more acres than 10 and couldnt get anyone to even talk to me nor could i afford the attorney fees to do it for me.

Ron if we would do as you suggest and join your land management co what would the fees be and who makes the decsisions? If you are deciding how my land is managed and you hold out or ask for to much and they pass me by and I don`t get leased,  then what? if you got me a deal then two months later the terms are better then what? who is responsable?

  would it be no dif. than investing money with a finance guy and he doesn`t sell at the right time and I loose big? isnt he a "manager" of my money.

 I think its all being happy with what you have and not being to greedy,you can second guess and hold out and loose it all.

  seems to me there is no right way and its real easy to sit here and type after seeing what played out here over the last year or so when no one could see that the $ were $5-$6 K in Oh.  what will we all say when maybe 5 years from now its $10k ,maybe we should have waited but then we could all be dead by then too.

If are lazy, join a land management company like the ones who rent condos for owners at ski resorts.  If you've leased mineral rights, you don't need a manager as it's out of your hands.

Nothing to see here.


I don't think it's a matter of being lazy. Without a doubt there are folks who feel knowledgeable enough to handle these issues. Others don't. Then there are those folks who are just too busy for all the meetings it takes sometimes to get to an agreement.

Don't get me wrong I'm not completely sold on the concept yet myself, and your skepticism actually adds to the value of the discussion. Hopefully Ron, and this discussion will give us a better understanding of this concept.


The good land groups did help some land owners. If I understand Ron's point correctly; there are many issues to be dealt with by the land owner in regard to oil and gas development of their property. The land groups focused primarily on lease negotiation. But this will be a lifetime affair for all land owners. We have recently seen posts on this site with questions about royalty checks, and pipeline right of ways. I am sure more question will evolve as time goes on. This is why I am intrigued by this idea right now. I suppose if done properly the management company could be a valuable asset to some folks.

At this point I am curious to see the thoughts of others, and follow up comment from Ron.

I for one would love for Ron to follw up with more info and comments,I recently leased my land in Monroe Co.and went it alone. So far so good,Would I have been better served to have a proffesional on my side,I don't know. WillI I be better served to have a proffesional on my side moving forward? I don't know.Ron What say you?



"What is good for the goose is good for the gander"

Setting up a land management group enables me and others to retire while an organization (business) continues the business of land.

Ten years from now, Ohio Land Management may get a call about a problem in the calculation of royalties on a wellhead over one of our clients land.  I'm going to make sure the office is manned and a team is addressing this question.


Two years from now Mr. Penner may call Ohio Land Management concerning a ROW acquisition on his property, he is heading to Florida and OLM is responsible to look into this....thoroughly.  And while he is away, he needs someone to meet with the auditor about reducing his taxes on CAUV property.


You see, Land Management is for everyone when they no longer wish to be bothered with the day-to-day business of land.  And you only pay for the service you recieve and not 3% or a cut of your royalties.



It's understandable that an older couple might like your services just as they use a finance manager to manage their money.

What about a younger couple who is still more hands on ? Can they be participate with the land manager ? I know I'm not at a point where I would turn over total control to someone.


It all depends on each and everyone's situation.  We manage several heirs of small acreage who are out of town and are not well versed on wht is happening.  Many times the compensation to OLM is a pecentage based on what is produced.  We have clients from out-of-state who elect to pay a percentage for continuous management.

 I agree with Ron's opening message and the possibilities it offers to those who don't keep up with our absolutely NON- STATIC shale industry, and all related businesses. Without laying aside a portion of each day to research and study the changes occurring that alter shale activity, it doesn't take long to become a historical shale genious ... as in what happened yesterday IS history and what will happen tomorrow is speculative. Landowner groups always have those members who simply look @ numbers, sign a lease and don't want to know anything more. Mission accomplished according to those folks.  That's fine.  Probably they also go to a doctor for an ailment, get a pill, and are satisfied.

It's very refreshing to have group members who join to be educated, come to meetings for "the latest" to see how new facts will affect their opportunities for solid leasing, and are willing to embrace the idea of timing rather than rushing willly-nilly into the first deal to come along. Do land management people see themselves in this role, or more serving needs that come after leasing?

Personally I have been involved in putting a large land owner group together that has been focused on education first. Understanding the magnitude of Marcellus/Utica shale and all it can do for individuals, towns, regions, and states  when developed wisely and fairly IS important.

What firms (not connected to gas/oil companies) have been or ARE involved solely with such management practices?  The idea may be new to this area, but certainly in OK, TX, and CA where deep drilling has been on-going for decades, some firm(s) must have been gaining experience and providing knowledgeable service for years to others under lease.

Ron's ideas are for a specialized set of services ... no room for a general practitioner here. I could certainly see a fee structure being arranged ... either for a group, or individuals ... but only after several educational sessions(free) had been held.  Then give audiences an opportunity to avail themselves of the services or not, and provide a "back-door" opportunity to get out, IF the services don't meet contractual obligations.

That's how my region's Group is run and I'm very proud of the members understanding of "all things Marcellus" and the sustained vision we've shared while watching the many changes that have come to the industry.

Timing is everything and our time has come.

 Ron, it's very possible the timing is right for what you're proposing.  I'd suggest working on fine-tuning it a bit, but I'm sure you already are.  The need is there.

Sorry Triple F that you are down on landowner groups because I believe the team efforts put forth by the members of the 4-County Group are "the GREATEST".  They are good people.

You put out a lot of good info and usually have a well-grounded perspective on things. I just disagree with you this time.


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