Gas lease holders learn to end contracts

About 35 property owners, most with gas leases and a desire to renegotiate the renewal clauses, met with attorney Rachel Treichler Feb. 15 at the Finger Lakes Produce Auction in Milo. Organizer Steve Knapp of Barrington said that the meeting was needed because landowners “want to get this lease thing under control.”

Of great concern was the “automatic renewal” clause that is often included in gas leases, which unless opted out before signing, gives gas companies nearly perpetual rights of renewal. Renegotiation with that clause in place is difficult.

Treichler, a resident of Wayne, was a practicing attorney in New York City for 20 years. She earned her legal degree at the University of Texas in Austin, well known for its oil and gas industry related legal training.

She described many of the leases she has seen here in New York as “badly worded and in need of revision.” New York adopting compulsory integration has further complicated matters. Landowners can be forced into a lease if the majority of the land around them has been signed, though they will not face surface operations on their land.

Treichler and Knapp provided informational materials for landowners toprepare themselves before facing landmen and the confusing legal terminology of the leases they often pressure landowners to sign.


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