Has anyone signed a marcullus lease with Synder Brothers? How did you make out? Are they paying the upfront payment fairly quickly ?
You have a lot of good questions.
First remember good things come to him[her] who waits.
Suggest that optimum terms are $5000/acre bonus for 5 year lease [$1000/acre/year] signing bonus with some of it paid immediately on signing for your time and trouble. You may not see any money after that. Landmen come in waives signing as many as they can at one price - disappearing only to come back again ... and again.
Every parcel is important to them - large or small. Some advantages are gained by working with your neighbors - strength in numbers, but a critical small parcel does well. With tight formations from which they literally have to blast the gas loose, it is not possible to drill holes around an unleased property and get the gas - at most very little of it.
Companies like Range say they already have enough land to keep them drilling for 75 years.
At the end of primary term perhaps only one well will be drilled in a large unit [that may only include a small portion of your land] to hold the lease virtually forever. It may be a while before serious drilling occurs. The bonus could be the only serious money you see for a long time.
Environmental concerns appear to be overstated. Big companies spending millions do not want problems - but occasional mistakes are made. Any problems are highly published but represent a small percentage of the operations.
Operations during drilling are not fun unless you like lots of noise and traffic problems, but these operations should pass fairly quickly. However, expect the operation to come back in the future with more drilling into the same formation and other formations.
Rights of way are a matter of concern and could interfere with property use.
The value of your surface property could be adversely affected as well of the marketability as potential buyers worry about what might happen in the future.
Production from wells should more than compensate for any loss of value to the surface.
All leases are negotiable.
Companies can work with reasonable provisions. Leases vary substantially from company to company and even the same company may have variations in so called "standard" leases. There is no standard universal lease.
If companies drill horizontal wells costing millions of dollars 500 feet apart, it suggests they can only draw efficiently gas for about 250 feet, even after fracking. Perhaps this also confirms that the gas is extremely unlikely that the gas will rise from a mile deep horizontal hole to the surface. You will search in vain for a case where such a thing has been proven to have happened.
Do your homework. Millions of sites exist for the Marcellus on the Web - and it is useful to Google the Barnett Shale to see what has happened after all the horizontal drilling and fracking in Texas. Fort Worth, an urban area is cluttered with Barnett drill sites. Drilling and environmental practices continue to improve. You obviously have an inquiring mind. Use it on the Internet. Penn State site is one with much info and Pitt [particularly as to environmental aspects] and Carnegie Mellon is involved.
It is a fabulous time. Lots of good and some bad. In addition to your own extensive research, after you find financial terms that are generally acceptable, finda lawyer who has some knowledge of the subject to help you. The lease terms are extraordinarily complex and written gbyi and for the producers.
Do not lease minerals or strata that can produce with shallow drilling. Limit what is leased as much as possible. Do not include coal bed gas without investigation. Do not lease storage rights until the the strata for storage are fully produced and agreement is reached as to satisfactory terms.
The word "minerals" does not include oil or gas [with limited exception and subject to the outcome of the Butler case]. Minerals should not be leased as part of a Marcellus, Utica or other lease anticipating horizontal drilling and fracking. Minerals are the subject of entirely different considerations when they have commercial value.
You only want GROSS royalties and no considerations for their operations logistics.
This means no deductions.
Plus, of course, a good signing bonus per acre and anything over 12.5% as your royalty percentage.
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