The Consultant - 2016 - (Page 20)
and the Landowner
Navigating the energy scene in the
Marcellus Shale formation
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
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
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