Attorney Doug Clark discusses Tioga County leases, and other leases in Pennsylvania that have or may have terminated or expired due to a lack of operation activity, but the gas company has failed to file a Surrender and Release at the Recorder of Deeds Office at the courthouse. Given the low current natural gas prices, pipeline infrastructure limitations and lack of capital, horizontal well drilling has decreased significantly and there does not appear to be a rebound in natural gas prices on the horizon. Due to these negative natural gas market conditions Pennsylvania gas companies appear desperate to hold leases that have expired. Swepi, LP and other companies in Tioga County have been tendering small annual or quarterly shut-in payments in an effort to maintain potentially otherwise expired oil and gas leases. Landowners who think their gas lease has terminated or who have received yearly shut-in payments for over five year should consider The Clark Law Firm’s review and consultation services to understand their rights before they cash any shut-in or delay rental payments. However, even if you have cashed your shut-in or delay rental payment, you should still contact Attorney Clark to determine if you have any rights or arguments to terminate your lease due to a lack or production or activity. SWEPI and other companies have placed over 100 wells into Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection Regulatory Inactive Status wherein they indicate that gas production is not expected for at least up to 5 years. Do not allow an old oil and gas lease to stay valid if it has terminated. If possible and appropriate, move to have your lease surrendered as soon as possible.
Doug explains how gas companies in certain cases will send shut-in checks to landowners in hope that they will cash the checks and preserve their otherwise terminated gas lease. Landowners must also watch out for Ratification documents which gas companies often attempt use to revive or preserve otherwise terminated leases. Importantly, companies may couch ratification language within other documentation that they have presented to you. You may be presented a lease modification or lease amendment which includes ratification language indicating that your lease has not been breached and remains active and in effect. You must never sign any document containing lease ratification language unless you know why you were signing it and what the benefit will be for you and what the detriment will be in the future. Landowners should never sign ratification documents, or any oil and gas documentation, without having it reviewed by an experienced oil and gas lawyer. Doug encourages all Pennsylvania landowners to call The Clark Law Firm to learn about the Review and Consultation service and how it can prevent landowners for making catastrophic mistakes.