The Consultant - 2016 - (Page 20)

FEATURE FRACKING and the Landowner Navigating the energy scene in the Marcellus Shale formation ALICE REID O nce upon a time, a forest was pretty much that-a forest. A landowner with a healthy woodlot and a skillful forestry consultant could harvest the trees, plant more, sell the timber and make some money, knowing that in a few years the process could repeat itself. Today, in many areas of the country, forests have become something quite different: blankets of green spread over gas fields, a valuable resource trapped in rock far underground-one that energy companies want very much to tap. In the process, life has become more complicated for landowners and often 20 for the consulting foresters who work for them. There are opportunities but also challenges; they're often intertwined. "Trees are the easy part," says Joseph Glover, an ACF member in Pennsylvania. How to deal with the often-large energy companies that want what's under the trees "can be a challenge," he adds. Laws governing who can drill and where they can drill vary from state to state, making a confusing patchwork. The rights of a landowner may stop just a few feet below his topsoil or extend miles downward, depending on agreements made decades ago-some of which the landowner may not even be aware of. Welcome to the world of mineral rights: leases, royalties, contracts, bonuses and other issues having little to do with trees and everything to do with how a landowner can maintain some control over his property as energy companies seek underground resources. Perhaps a property owner can make some money in the process, but compensation will not come without headaches. They must tolerate land clearing and road building; heavy machinery and industrial well "pads" that can eat up dozens of acres as gas wells pop up in forests, fields and pastures-all in an attempt to free gas that lies embedded, sometimes miles below the surface. Over the past 15 years, ACF member Wayne S. Pflugar of Huntsville, Texas, near the Eagle Ford shale gas formation, has built part of his business on advising clients how to handle overtures from energy companies. Today he spends about 50 percent of his time on oil and gas. "I know the 37 things you need to know to deal with the energy companies," he says. His advice to clients is to get educated and be ready to spend money on good legal advice if you expect success negotiating with a gas company that wants to come on your land. Pflugar draws a sharp distinction between a consulting forester working for the landowner and the "land men" who arrive in the area looking for promising real estate for exploration and production. "When they walk in the door with a big sack of money, they are working for the THE CONSULTANT 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2016

From the Executive Director: The Elephant in the Room
From the President ACF – We Join You
Member Profile: Keville Larson, Renaissance Forester
The Value of a Consulting Forester
Fracking and the Landowner
Two Weeks at the Gates of Hell
If It Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck…
Proposed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Regulations from the FAA
Cross-Border Trade Disputes Heat Up
Will Small Firms Have to Specialize to Survive?
The Cradle of Forestry
Products & Services Buyers’ Guide
Index of Advertisers
A Call to Order

The Consultant - 2016