One local landowner group recently announced that they have passed an acreage milestone for membership.
Last week, the Northwest Pennsylvania Landowner Group, LLC (NWPALG) said that they have surpassed the organization’s original goal and has now registered more than 30,000 acres of land. The acreage registered through the NWPALG belongs to more than 350 landowners located primarily in Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.
Formed by landowners in the northwest Pennsylvania area, the NWPALG intends to educate and share information about oil and gas leasing. They also strive to inform property owners about favorable lease terms.
“The success of this grassroots organization has gone far beyond our greatest expectations,” said Brian Pitzer, NWPALG spokesperson. “We exceeded our original goal of 20,000 acres in October, and we have continued to grow steadily since then. It shows that our landowner members in northwestern Pennsylvania believe in what we are doing and share our goal to represent the highest and best interests of our members.”
In January, the NWPALG hosted a public meeting in Albion for landowners, who posses acreage that is not currently leased by an energy company or whose lease is about to expire.
According to Pitzer meetings like this typically draw at least 200 people. Last year’s meeting at Conneaut Lake High School drew as many as 400 interested visitors.
Pitzer explained that the significant size of the membership land would provide the NWPALG members with leverage in working with energy companies on agreements to protect landowner rights. Furthermore, it would also help landowners secure the best oil and gas leasing terms available.
The 30,000-acre milestone was reached less than one month after the NWPALG announced it had selected legal representation from a Pittsburgh law firm. Last month, the group chose mineral lawyer Sam Douglass, of the Rothman Gordon Law Firm in Pittsburgh, to represent the group.
“Our plan all along has been to attract as many landowner members and acreage as possible, and to secure the services of a seasoned mineral lawyer to represent us in negotiations with one or more energy companies,” said Pitzer, who is a realtor in the Edinboro area. “Now that we have met both of those goals, we are ready to begin the negotiation process.”
The milestone acreage mark does not mean the group will stop recruiting. The organization hopes to obtain leases similar to those in eastern Ohio, which have ranged between $3,500 and $6,000 per acre and 15 to 20 percent in royalties.
According to Pitzer, the NWPALG will continue to educate area landowners in hopes to increase acreage registration to strengthen the organization.
“There is still time to join the NWPALG as the negotiation process is likely to take several months," said Pitzer.