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Athens County OH Utica Shale Leasing Surpasses $2,500/acre

by Kenneth E. DuBose on December 15, 2011

Leasing in Athens County, OH, and other areas of the Utica Shale oil play continue to heat up. Land owners are joining together to sign leases in bulk to get favorable terms. Leases are being signed for $2,500 per acre with rumors of $5,000 per acre in the hottest areas.

Some mineral owners are going as far as taking less money to make sure a well is not drilled on the the surface rights they own. At the most recent “leasing party” $2,500 per acre was the going lease bonus offer, but you could guarantee no drilling on your lands for signing up at $1,250 per acre. Typical royalties were 16% in the leases.

Lavelle said his firm is still processing the many leases that have been signed since early October, but estimated Saturday that more than 400 landowning parties are involved, accounting for approximately 30,000 acres in Athens County. Cunningham has indicated it’s shooting for nearly 100,000 acres worth of leases, a little under a third of the county’s land area.

These leases, with the West Virginia-based Cunningham Energy company, represent a potential payout of approximately $75 million to all the property owners involved, Lavelle said. The attorney has organized three lease-signing events in the last two months.

Lavelle noted that while he was organizing to offer county landowners the use of his lease at a price of $50 an acre another set of lawyers was trying to move in on the local oil-and-gas leasing market. Lavelle’s lease calls for a signing payment of $2,500 per acre, plus 16 percent royalties on any oil or gas taken from beneath the property.


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