What are the benefits of signing a gas lease?

An effectively formulated gas lease can benefit people who desire a clear, private agreement in place during the gas exploration process. It should spell out the rights and responsibilities of each party in the agreement, how problems are to be handled, and how long the agreement lasts. Many signed gas leases are accompanied by bonus and rental payments that last through the primary terms of the lease - usually a five year period. Gas production in the vicinity may lead to a secondary term that lasts as long as production is active, as defined in the lease. Many landowners overlook terms regarding lease expiration. Review all clauses carefully so you know when the lease is completed.

If I sign a lease, will the gas company definitely drill?

No. Gas companies are leasing properties much more quickly than they can drill wells. They do this for exploratory purposes and to reserve the option to drill later. However, standard lease agreements give companies the right to drill, so they may exercise this option during the primary term of the lease.

Is the level of drilling activity going to drop because of the economic recession?

It is likely that the drilling activity will be lower than under ideal economic circumstances, but it still may increase when compared to 2008 levels of development in the Marcellus Shale. Whatever the drop in activity due to the economic downturn, it is more likely to be temporary, as overall demand for natural gas is expected to continue to increase and the Marcellus Shale is expected to help fill that demand.

Can someone else own the minerals underneath my property? How can i tell if I own my own minerals?

Yes. It is possible that the mineral ownership may be different than surface ownership. A deed/title search may be necessary for one to determine who actually owns the minerals under a piece of property.