Natural gas leases are topic of forum

In response to reports that field agents are beginning to seek rights to explore for possible underg

In response to reports that field agents are beginning to seek rights to explore for possible underground natural gas deposits in the region, an informational forum is planned tonight at the State University at Cobleskill.

The 7 p.m. session in Bouck Hall auditorium is sponsored by the Schoharie County Four Partners, the New York Farm Bureau, county government, the Chamber of Commerce and the educational community, according to chamber Executive Director Jodie Rutt.

“It kind of popped up overnight,” Rutt said Wednesday about recent calls she’s received from a few people who either have been contacted about possible gas exploration leases or are interested in more information.

Natural gas deposits in the Southern Tier region of the state, particularly in the counties immediately north of the Pennsylvania border, have long been known, said Jack Dahl of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Mineral Resource Bureau in Albany.

Two DEC natural gas experts will explain the history of oil and natural gas production in the state, Dahl said. The DEC team will also offer advice on what landowners should watch out for when considering signing gas leases.

Other speakers include Farm Bureau members with experience dealing with gas speculators in other parts of the state. A representative from a gas exploration firm has also been invited, Rutt said.

Tonight’s public event is primarily organized by the New York Farm Bureau, and Dahl said the DEC has participated in similar forums around the state.

Active gas wells in Chemung and Tioga counties have recently been very productive, he said.

Although Dahl said his bureau has only recently received a few inquiries from Schoharie County, natural gas exploration agents, often referred to as landmen, have been busy contacting landowners in Otsego, Delaware and Sullivan counties.

“Marcellus shale is what they have been looking for,” Dahl said, referring to the gas-bearing rock zone spreading through the Appalachian Plateau region from Pennsylvania into south-central New York.

The natural gas shale zone is typically found about 4,000 to 6,000 feet below the surface, he said.

Another zone known as Utica shale, in central New York, also bears the potential to produce natural gas, Dahl said.

He said prices paid for leases vary. If exploration results in productive wells, contracts typically include royalty payments.

Categories: Schenectady County

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