I am an attorney admitted to practice in New York State and I began representing landowners in the late 1980s with respect to oil and gas lease negotiations. Land owners from across New York State began to call me to negotiate their leases for oil and gas exploration. I was doing so much leasing work that I authored an article entitled “Should You Lease Your Land?” which appeared in the January/February 2001 issue of Forest Owner, the New York Forest Owners Association’s magazine. For the first 20 years of negotiating oil and gas leases, I primarily concentrated on leases that concerned vertical wells in the Medina, Theresa, and Trenton-Black River formations.
In early 2009, word began to spread that high volume hydraulic fracturing was a proven stimulation technique that greatly increased the ability to extract natural gas from very tight rock. This combined with horizontal drilling and a multi-well pad development increased production of domestic natural gas reserves from deep underground shale deposits. This has dramatically altered the future energy supply projections and has the promise of lowering the cost for users and purchasers of this energy commodity. This news was accompanied by geological maps indicating that large portions of the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale formations were located within New York State borders. In fact, each shale formation is names after a New York State municipality. I began to field inquiries on leasing opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations and formed the Western New York Oil and Gas Coalition of landowners wishing to aggregate their acres available to lease to increase their bargaining power.