Wirt group combines land for leasing

ELIZABETH- A group of property owners in several counties who have joined together to present an option for natural gas drilling and production will have about 227,000 acres available for lease.

The Wirt County Oil and Gas Group announced Monday the close of its sign-up period for property owners to join up to include their properties in a pool to be bid for leasing, said James Lydon, chairman of the group.

This is four times larger than what Lydon had expected.

“I am very thankful for everyone that helped make the sign-up period such a success,” he said.

There are more than 550 individuals and companies involved with the group.

The Wirt County Oil and Gas Group was formed in February and has brought together landowners, mineral rights holders and gas producers to formulate a lease option for those interested in having their property used in natural gas production. Acreage is in Wood, Ritchie, Calhoun, Roane, Jackson and Wirt counties.

The goal of the Wirt County Oil and Gas Group is to develop a lease that is fair to the royalty owner, surface owner and the producer. They have drawn up a proposed lease and had it reviewed by the membership.

On Dec. 8, they held a meeting to discuss the draft of the lease and asked for suggestions to improve the document, Lydon said.

“We had very few suggestions and they were all taken back to the lease committee and a final draft will be review by our attorney next week,” he said.

From Feb. 5-8, the group will have a booth at the NAPE EXPO in Houston, Texas, to market its acreage.

“The goal of the trip is to make major companies aware of the large pool of wet gas,” Lydon said. “The group has a very busy spring planned with completion of the lease and surface owners use and damage agreement plus completion of mapping of the acreage.”

The group is requesting members that have submitted acreage that used the map number of 9999 find the surface owners map and parcel number during the next three weeks.

“The number of people submitting these numbers is so large that more volunteers are needed to complete this work,” Lydon said. “The work done will increase the value of the leases.”

Lydon is getting calls from people to submit their acreage after the initial deadline of Jan. 30.

He indicated he would like to help everyone; however, due to the large size and the amount of additional work required, he is hesitant to accept additional acreage, unless the acres submitted would help complete a unit of current members, he said.

“It will be hard to respond to requests until after the mapping has been completed,” he said.