The Southwest Ohio Landowners’ Group is an organization of landowners in southwest portion of the Utica shale, who will utilize the power of large numbers to educate, protect, and help landowners achieve the highest overall value for their eventual mineral lease, and create an infrastructure to get the most out of a partnership with the oil & gas operators, and to ensure the fruits of our minerals benefit our communities for generations to come. We do not work for drilling companies or oil companies but instead, we work for the landowners. As an organization run by local landowners, we understand the importance of making sure the landowner has a good understanding of the lease terms and conditions being offered, how it affect their pocketbook, their land, their loved ones, and their community.
Development of the Group
As I researched the Utica shale in regards to my families land in Perry County, it quickly became apparent that a strong group of landowners is vital to protecting our interests, and that little effort to organize such a group was underway.
The Southwest Ohio Landowners group started out as Perry County Shale, by attorney Jerry Shade who grew up in Perry and Licking County, went to college in Muskingum County, and Business school in Athens county. But it quickly evolved to incorporate the surrounding counties as a potential source for membership. While grouping these counties as “southwest” Ohio may seem a bit odd given our central location in the state – we are on what appears to be southwestern edge of the Utica Shale play. Studies can be wrong, but by the looks of it, the productive window of the Utica will not extend far beyond our western borders.
The Home page lists a detailed presentation, but In a nutshell the group is based on the certainty that a group organized by, and for the benefit of, those people with a real interest in the land will yield the best results for our people, and our land, and our counties.
Everyone affected by the Utica Shale has been caught off guard to some extent. No one even knew this thing existed a few short years ago, and only since July 2011 has the real potential come to light. We’re all trying to figure out what the real story is on the dangers of fracking? whether and when we might get offers? what contract terms must we have? do we currently even own the rights to our minerals ? what lawyer should we use ? The questions are endless and they all must be answered, but Priority Number 1 should be organizing into the smaller neighborhood groups and developing those groups into good chunks of contiguous acreage and then connecting those groups to each other so that the landowners represent sufficient acreage to control their own destiny.
We can have our titles spotless, a perfect understanding of the contract we want, and the best attorney in the state – but it doesn’t trump having what operators want – lots of contiguous acreage. If you want to buy a 100 acre farm – who has more negotiating power – the one man in town who has a 100 acre farm for sale, or the 200 men who have 10 acre farms for sale? Its that simple. We are sellers, they are buyers – we get the best deal by selling what they want to buy.
But negotiating power is only the beginning of the advantage that comes from a being a part of a substantial landowner group. Next…