I would LOVE to hire an attorney, but #1...live in Ohio, and #2. Like most I am not rich nor a professional at knowing or negotiating leases....I expect those to be done in good faith, but we all know where that stands. I don't know where to go for advice anymore. I'm with Jay-Bee on certain leases, then Antero approached me weeks ago. Seems to also be civil action according to the words on the tax bill from the Tyler County Sheriff office....yes...I ay tax as well, and receive a small royalty now and then....not complaining about that, as I am grateful for anything, BUT in comparison... I am growing increasingly upset and bewildered and about to just sell all my interests. Just not worth the frustration and stress.
What are you hiring an attorney for? Is it to sign a new lease? IF you are hiring an attorney to sign a new lease, I would see if they will accept a percentage of your signing bonus as payment. That way you do not have to pay them "out of pocket," per se. I would imagine most attorneys would be ok with this, if you will receive a large enough bonus that a portion of it is sufficient to pay them. Really, you should just pay them a flat fee that you agree upon that will come out of your signing bonus.
well, because apparently my original lease with Statoil is done. Antero is after me to sign....$200 bonus (ha, ha, ha), and 12.5% royalty....NOTHING compared to what Stat offered 5 years ago. What happens if I don't sign? They (Antero) refused to tell me if any of my relatives or lessees signed with them....never, ever had that occur before. Stat was very upfront with me and even came to Ohio and explained the entire lease with us. $200???? That to me is an insult.
Personally, I would tell them to take a hike for a $200/ac bonus, unless you really need the money or you know there's nothing better out there. I don't know your area, but $200/ac seems very low unless it's a very unproven area. They will try to rush you, that's how the leasing agents work. Also, to be fair, if you tell them to take a hike you have to be ok with the possibility that they may not make another offer, and there might not be anyone other company that is interested for a while. Again, I don't know enough about your area to know how badly any company wants leases there. Do you know any of the neighbors, or other people in that area who you could ask?
Try not to get too overwhelmed, and try not to let the leasing agents make you feel too rushed.
If your relatives signed and the leases are paid, they should be recorded and available for you to see in the county's public records. Some counties have it online, some don't. Unfortunately, it looks to me that Tyler County does not have records online. You can call the County Clerk's office to verify whether records are available online.
As to what happens if you don't sign, I am not 100% sure for WV. Someone on here probably knows, but it seems not a lot of people are visiting the site these days.
Also, I do not think it is a good time to sell. I am not against selling your minerals as many people on here are, I think it can be wise to hedge your bets by selling a portion of them, depending on your personal circumstances and market conditions. However, with prices being relatively low and the oil and gas industry in a bad spot currently, I am sure that the buyers are offering very low prices. That may not improve a lot anytime in the near future.
Well, I do not know what else to do or who to talk to.
Debra, how many acres or interest do you own? What county are you located in? The reason I ask is the fact I can look into it and see what they're planning to do. $200 is not worth the time to send paperwork out, I agree, but I could help with this and see if you have room to negotiate for more.
My inheritance and the rights I own are all in Tyler County W.Va. and here's the "Greek"... Gross Acres=17.00000....my interest=0.05060....NOW, keep in mind there is more property, but this is only what Antero is currently seeking. Offering $200.00 and 12.5% royalty/5 years. then of course the pages of legal work attached to the lease agreement. I think it is not fair and a low offer, but assuming my interest is not that huge, that could be why. I found out on the Tyler County tax site one cousin has signed, but neither one of my brothers has signed thus far. Antero said their offer (or at least the ease), would expire in 15 days.
G.H. nailed it. WV cotenancy. Antero gave you the basic offer. Sit back and wait. Antero does this to all landowners with the "expire in days" BS.
My family was dealing with Antero in Wetzel with the same offer you received. I negotiated for the family, each had about 0.45 of an acre. We were able to get these terms listed below.
Get out of that lease the General warranty clause, and the post production on the royalty.
We had all this added.
Marcellus depth only.
Cost free ( no deductions to royalties)
18.5% on royalty
$2000 flat bonus For each member (6 total family members)
Hold harmless clause
A better "Shut In" amount. $25 per acre.
after going back and forth with the Landman over a month time, they finally gave us what we wanted.
Remember, WV Cotenancy law, you will get the best deal from the best lease signed in the unit and Antero knows this.
Hope this helps!
Oh, my God, yes, and the direction I was going to head next with counter-offer. Guess I’m not afraid anymore to insist all things be included, and I sure don’t think it’s putting the hurt on theses companies, as I will just be negotiating for myself. The biggest for me was NOT paying tax to Tyler County as well as what I already pay when the royalty is produced. Your input was very much appreciated. And for the record for anyone else reading, Jay-Bee is not doing any leasing currently with production being down. I’m wondering too if their offer was a type-o???? $200.00 vs. $2,000.00 sign on bonus???? Probably not. You folks who offer advice ROCK!!!!
The truth of the matter is you don't have to do anything at all if you don't want to. It's not like your only two options are sign the lease or sell the minerals. You could just wait and see. If it gets to the point that the driller wants to utilize the new WV cotenancy statute (see below), it seems likely that they would let you know beforehand.
Like I said, don't let the leasing agents make you feel rushed. Maybe they are telling you the company is ready to drill? Sometimes they do that to rush you. Realistically, they could get you to sign tomorrow and you could still be waiting years on them to drill. You'll never know when they're actually going to drill until you see them start, and frankly, oftentimes the leasing agents don't know what's going on with the big picture either.
You asked earlier what happens if you refuse to sign. I am not an attorney, but here's what I found online as it pertains to the new WV cotenancy statute:
"Under the 2018 cotenancy statute, if the driller can get leases signed by the owners of 75% of the shared interest in the mineral tract, then the driller can go ahead and drill. The owners of the remaining 25% will be deemed to have a lease with some of the best terms signed by the other 75%. (Though some 25-percenters may not think that the best terms signed by the 75-percenters are really very good terms.)"
Let's be clear on one thing, and this has been true since its inception: There is no such thing as "good faith" in this industry. Nuttall Legal, in Buckhannon, WV, knows Tyler County, and has clients there. You can do most of your contact with them online. Kyle Nuttall has a blog on which he answers general questions posted by readers, such as what others in the area in question are getting as a bonus. I have consulted with them, and have been satisfied with their advice.
You can research any leases that have been recorded at the court house by going to tylercountywv.com. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you'll see buttons for tax inquiry, and document inquiry. Use the document button for leases, and you can also research the civil action that you mention, as well as deeds. If you don't find what you're looking for there, you can research the tax documents for information on any family members who are sharing the tax burden. It takes a while to get to know your way around the databases. Just log in as a guest, and the system works better with Internet Explorer.