Our lease expired in March. We have over 100 acres in Robinson Township, Washington County. We had originally signed with Dale, which was Chesapeake, flipped to Range. There is no auto-extension provision in our lease, it was a straight five-year term with no renewal option. Range has us pretty well buttoned up with cheap leases all around us that they did renew. There are units close by but none of our immediate neighbors are unitized (nor were we).
Range had approached us a few years ago about putting a well pad on our property (our lease was no-surface use). While we were negotiating with them, they filed a stormwater permit on our property which they had no right to do since we had a no surface lease and had not given permission for any surface use at all. Ultimately, we could not come to an agreement, and they stopped negotiating with us. They did appear to come to an agreement with our neighbor, but although an initial stormwater permit was filed a couple of years ago, nothing else has been done.
We were listening to the "It's Your Legacy" radio show on 1170 and the attorney recommended that anyone in this position get a "Release from Lease" recorded. There is nothing in our original lease agreement that requires the Lessee to do this automatically. I had previously called Range and the land dept. manager said while he'd love to renew us, they just don't have the money in the budget. At that time I asked him if they would be filing anything to acknowledge that the lease had expired, but he said they don't do that.
I guess my question is, can I draw up some type of document and file it in the courthouse myself, or is there some sort of "official" Release form that has to be signed by the gasco before it can go on record? And also, since they filed that permit years ago which they had no right to do, could we in any way be considered held by production?
Donna- here is a word- for- word quote from my lease "This lease shall continue in force and the rights granted hereunder be quietly enjoyed by lessee for a term of 10 years and so much longer thereafter as oil and gas or their constituents are produced or are capable of being produced on the premises in paying quantities, in the judgement of Lessee, or as the premises shall be operated by lessee in the search for oil or gas and as provided in paragraph 7 following." The 10 year period is not over for a couple months yet, so they haven't actually tried to extend the lease yet, I'm just trying to get ahead of this in case they do.Paragraph 7 is all about HBP, there has been no activity whatsoever on my property nor have I been put in a unit. I am planning on getting an attorney but wanted to get as much info as possible. Thank You for your reply.
Star Gazer - I can only tell you that in our case, we heard nothing from Range until about 2 months before our lease expired - we were out of town and got a phone call from a landman who said he wanted to meet with us to discuss renewing the lease. We called back and got his voicemail, and told him we were out of town but would be back the following Monday if he wanted to set up something. He never returned our call. We called him a couple of times after we got home, and left messages, but never heard from him again. Eventually I called Range and we were told he was no longer with them company, and that while they would love to renew our lease, they had no money in the budget. That was the end of it! In the meantime they've been renewing leases like crazy in other areas, in some cases well before those leases have expired (Beaver County, PA, for example). We are supposedly in a hot wet-gas area...
Anyway, our neighbor's lease also expired and he was exploring other options. But, about six months after his lease expired, Range contacted him and said they had found something in his lease that permitted them to re-sign him at the same (very low) rate in his original lease. He had his attorney look things over and apparently Range was correct, and they signed him for another five-year term. We had a pretty good lease, the best we could negotiate at that time, and although there were a couple of things we would do differently now, we'd be okay with just renewing what we had before. We figure they really hated that lease lol.
All of our surrounding neighbors signed rather poor leases with very low bonus payments, and have all been renewed.
This is all a long-winded way of saying they take their time when it suits them, and you may hear from them any day - or maybe not. Good luck!
Donna- thanks for the info. Will let you know if anything happens.
Update - It took a while to get a contact at Range who could give us some good info. We did finally find someone at a township meeting who put us in touch with the right department. They told us they were processing "hundreds" of surrender documents but ours would be one of the first - and we did get a fully executed, recordable document about a week ago. We have to record it ourselves. No problem, I have to go to the courthouse for another matter soon anyway and will handle both tasks at the same time.