“When it comes to oil and gas leases, many landowners haven’t been through that, so they don’t know what to expect,” Michigan State University Extension educator Curtis Talley said.
Talley went over state regulations that apply to oil and gas leases, what people should consider when negotiating a sale or lease, and how to evaluate contract offers from an oil and gas company.
“This is our third meeting in Ottawa County,” Talley said. “Our first meeting was in Olive Township in November 2012.”
Fracking is a process that maximizes the output of natural gas and oil wells to make them productive.
An operator pumps a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemicals into an oil or gas formation. The pressure fractures rock layers and releases oil or gas reserves, and the sand holds the fractures open to allow the oil or gas to flow into the well.
“Some people don’t want ‘em, and other people want to get paid,” Talley said. “Oil and gas leases are a choice. Just because someone comes to you with a lease doesn’t mean you have to lease your mineral rights.”
Talley noted that there are resources available for people interested in oil and gas leases. The MSU Extension service maintains a website focused on special oil and gas leasing information, with links and information, as well as a 45-minute video discussing oil and gas rights for landowners.
Thursday night’s session at the Ottawa County Fillmore Street Complex in West Olive was the second in a three-part series hosted by the Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department.
“For the most part, (the first one) went really well,” said Aaron Bodbyl-Mast, land-use planning specialist for the county. “We started this series in response to a meeting we held last summer.”
During that meeting, more than 200 people showed up to get information about fracking.
“One of the things people (at last year’s session) said they wanted was information on oil and gas leases,” Bodbyl-Mast said.
The final session on fracking will look at local government regulatory options. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the county office on Fillmore Street.