Statutory lease forfeiture or litigation to clear your title
Many landowners in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays execute leases in anticipation of receiving thousands of dollars per acre on a signing bonus only to realize that their property is held by production. The landowner receives a notice of title defect but cannot understand why. Oil and gas leases executed many years ago can preclude landowners from leasing their property for Utica and/or Marcellus shale development. Sometimes landowners are considered to be held by production despite receiving no royalties. Our oil and gas attorneys help landowners free themselves from non-producing leases by employing the statutory forfeiture process set forth in Ohio Revised Code § 5301.332 or by analyzing the provisions in the lease agreement. If we cannot forfeit the lease through the statutory process, we will litigate to seek a release of the existing oil and gas lease, so that landowners have clear title and can market their oil and gas rights.
Ohio Dormant Mineral Act
Some of our clients find they own the surface rights to their property but can’t lease the oil and gas because the mineral rights were reserved by a former owner at some point in the past. However, Ohio Revised Code § 5301.56, also known as the Dormant Mineral Act, provides process through which the oil and gas rights can be deemed abandoned and transfer to the surface owner. We help our clients take the necessary steps under Ohio law to gain ownership of their severed mineral interests. Dormant mineral interests are currently the subject of extensive litigation throughout eastern Ohio and there are currently cases pending before the Ohio Supreme Court. Our attorneys have been involved with dormant mineral litigation in a number of trial courts throughout eastern Ohio, as well as the Seventh District Court of Appeals.
The attorneys at Stubbins, Watson, Bryan & Witucky Co., L.P.A. can help protect your natural resources, including oil and gas. We also offer estate planning services for clients who receive or may receive significant lease income. We can help your family and beneficiaries benefit from these assets and implement plans to reduce your tax liability.
Contact our Zanesville oil and gas lawyers to protect your land and oil and gas interests
Stubbins, Watson, Bryan & Witucky Co., L.P.A. has vast experience helping landowners protect their land and maximize the value of the oil and gas interests. If you are stuck with an unproductive lease or frustrated by severed mineral rights, we can help. To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable oil and gas attorney, call (740) 452-8484 or contact our Zanesville office online.