Our property has an old Atlas resources lease on it that expired back in '99. Would that have to be marked as released in the courthouse to be able to proceed with establishing a new lease with a different company?
Technically no, but any new lessee may mistakenly believe you are still under the old lease, so it is good to get a release filed. Oftentimes, the new lessee will know that the old lease has terminated given that there is no lease or unit well holding your property, so they will come to you even though no release is on file. Ultiamtely, the new lessee will want a release and will typically either ask you to get it from Atlas or they will get it themselves. Your Atlas lease should contain a provision referencing the filing of a release. Under that provision, you can demand they record one
As a last resort... assuming you aren't getting paid any royalties by Atlas (or anybody else), file an "Affidavit of Non-Production" which simply provides a statement that you aren't receiving any royalties, shut in payments or any other payment that would serve to have perpetuated the previous Atlas lease.
We won't buy a lease for our client with an old un-released lease on it until they provide us a filed release from the original operator.
Part of the issue we have been seeing is landowners not properly complying with the procedures set out in the Dormant Mineral Act to get their non producing leases released. If a landowner comes to the table with a properly filed release of a prior lease, I have told my landmen to sign the lease.
Not true, look up the Revised Code 5301.332. It covers leased mineral interests.
All I did was quote what the revised code was for the State of Ohio. If your attorney thinks there is a different approach then that is on him.
BGJ is right, the Dormant Minerals Act that you posted a link to deals specifically with leases and rights thereto when there was a mineral conveyance. To file an affidavit of non-production on land that you own both the surface and minerals mitigates the need to use such act.