60 Seconds with an Attorney: Ralph A. Cantafio

"What do I do when a landman calls?"Ralph Cantafio

Remember, the landman works for the producer and is not there to help the land owner. The landman is there to negotiate the best deal possible for the company - not you. Because an oil and gas lease creates a dominant easement, your use of the surface becomes secondary to the development of the oil and gas interest. The best thing to do is call an experienced oil and gas attorney to help you understand all of your legal rights.

"I have been approached by an Oil and Gas Company, should I negotiate a Surface Use Agreement?"

By law, if you are a property owner and your property is going to be the subject of a drilling permit for oil and gas, prior to the filing of an application for that drilling permit the operator in many states must verify that they have first made a good faith effort to negotiate a Surface Use Agreement. A Surface Use Agreement defines the rights of the operator and the land owner (or user of that land) during the time of exploration, drilling and development of oil and gas as to the use of the property. Because a successful well might be functioning for decades, the signing of a fair Surface Use Agreement tends to be preferable for both the property owner and the operator than mere reliance on the common law. If you are approached, a landowner is prudent in contacting legal counsel.

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