MARIETTA - As Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling continue to expand in Ohio, landowners have been bombarded with options to lease their mineral rights and provide for easements on their land.
As part of an ongoing effort to educate landowners about their rights and options concerning leases and easements, The Ohio State University Extension will be holding an informational session at 6:30 p.m. today at Washington State Community College.
The presentation, "Pipeline Easement and Right-of-Way Agreements," will be held in the college's Graham Auditorium.
"The big question people always want to know is how much is my right of way worth. It just depends," said Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension agricultural educator and one of the presenters.
Though Landefeld can't tell people how much their easement is worth, the presentation will help landowners know what factors contribute to the value of their land and what questions they should ask before signing any documents.
Today's presentation will specifically deal with the easement of land for pipelines. Additional pipelines will be needed to keep up with the transportation needs of the growing oil and gas industry.
"I'll be talking about different types of pipelines that are out there, who regulates some of those things and what the regulations are," he said.
Landefeld will also talk about what kind of construction process landowners can expect if they decide to allow pipelines on their property.
The program will also feature Peggy Hall, OSU Extension Director of Ag & Resource Law Program, who will touch on legal aspects that landowners should consider.
"Peggy talks a little more about what is the easement, some of the terms used in easement agreements, some of the things they should have in the contracts," said Landefeld.
People often overlook certain important details of an easement agreement, such as the depth of the pipe burial, the width of the easement, the number of lines that are allowed to be run and the starting and ending dates of the easement, he said.
The OSU Extension does not give legal advice, he added, but does recommend that landowners work with an attorney if they plan on signing any agreements with an oil and gas company.
Marietta attorney Jennifer Garrison, whose law firm deals exclusively with leasing of the oil and gas mineral rights, noted that modern considerations are much different than what needed to be considered with pipelines servicing the older wells.
"I think it's good that we have companies that want to do business here, but both sides need representation," she added.
The program will also feature remarks from Jon Bourdon, district conservationist for Washington County Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Bob Mulligan, Resource Management Specialist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.