At the end of last year, The Ohio State University established the Subsurface Energy Resource Center, aimed at increasing knowledge of subsurface resource development and associated environmental issues.
Peggy Hall, director of the Ohio State University's Agricultural and Resource Law Program, is among the faculty members involved with the resource center.
With an oil and gas boom occurring in some parts of the state and on the fringe of occurring in other areas, Hall said there are some things landowners should keep in mind before leasing their property for the purpose of drilling.
Q: What is the most important thing a person should do when they are considering leasing their land for the purpose of drilling?
A: The first thing I would advise is to use an attorney. These are very complicated situations and the leases themselves can be amended. The company will give the landowners the form of its lease they'd like to see the landowner sign, but the attorney can provide an addendum to that lease that addresses the landowner's concerns. Not only can an attorney help understand what's in the company's proposal, but they can also address the landowner's needs within that lease.
Q: What should landowners be thinking of in terms of the future?
A: Think about tax implications and management of that new wealth. There are going to be income tax ramifications on the bonus and royalty payments. So planning for that is important, but then also just thinking about what's left beyond the income tax, how to manage that money in a careful way, and that may require the assistance of an accountant or financial planner or attorney.
Q: How can people get more information about this topic?
A: We have a number of us who have organized as an education team and we're out doing meetings all around the state right now on a number of topics related to oil and gas.
Those meetings are all listed on the SERC website - it stands for the Subsurface Energy Resource Center - at serc.osu.edu. It lists all the upcoming meetings OSU is involved in. We're in the process of finalizing a lot of resources in written form and they'll be available on that website soon.
Ashley Rittenhouse conducted this interview.