Buckeye Farm News
Who has control over certain mineral rights? Farmers and rural residents who want to clear up claims or terminate older leases know that most of these agreements stay in effect as long as a well is still producing. The Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Well Locator website can help, said Dale Arnold, director of energy policy and local government.
“Within a matter of minutes, landowners can get right down to their tract of land, identify every well sited on the property and access all records on file with ODNR – Division of Oil and Gas. You can print them off as a matter of public record,” he said.
Arnold explained those records would include the original drilling permit, records showing depth of the well, geologic strata and the frack ticket.
Also, the lessee has to file the well production each year with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas in order to pay severance taxes, so the entire production history of the well is online, too.
“It shows the amount of oil in number of barrels produced in a year and amount of natural gas in MCFs (thousand cubic feet). It’s a clear matter of public record,” Arnold said. “As long as a well is still producing, the data will be there. You also can compare production data to past royalty payments.”
He said a number of landowners have gone to that website and found production records posted on wells fully decommissioned on their property from a decade ago. In many cases, this error could keep an oil and gas lease active by accident.
In such instances, Arnold said to call ODNR Division of Oil and Gas at 614-265-6922 and your county well inspector. Have the inspector come out to the property to authenticate the well no longer exists or has been decommissioned and removed. Once that is determined, landowners and their legal counsel can go through the process to have the lease terminated.