The West Virginia Farm Bureau has been sponsoring meetings about gas and oil leases in several parts of the Mountain State. The message being promoted is a sound one — property owners should be careful before they sign anything.
While the Eastern Panhandle isn't exactly Natural Gas Country, a number of property owners have been contacted by oil and gas landmen in recent years. As far as we're aware, there's never been a successful, producing gas or oil well drilled in the Morgan County vicinity, but who knows what the future may hold?
The thing to remember is not to let promises of big bucks cloud your thinking. Read the small print about how many wells can be drilled on your property and how you will be paid.
Last year, a Roane County jury delivered a $405 million verdict against gas interests for not paying $134 million in gas royalties that were due nearly 9,000 landowners. After initially showing sympathy for the gas companies, Governor Joe Manchin stopped talking about it. Someone must have reminded him that most of the 9,000 who were shortchanged are state residents and voters. This year, the West Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear the case on appeal, so the verdict stands.
Signing a gas and oil lease is serious business that could affect your own use of your property. Don't let anyone pressure you into a rash decision.