Hundreds of landowners came from far and near to an American Legion post to have money pressed into their hands.
“There were a lot of checks that were well over $100,000,” said Chip Lines-Burgess, who is attending the event. “It is a lot of money for people up here. It is a lot of money for people anywhere.”
Exactly where is this money coming from? From 6,000 feet under the ground in Marcellus Shale. Since the rock contains huge amounts of natural gas, gas drilling companies bought drilling rights from locals. This lease signing event in the tiny village of Black Walnut is one of the latest massive impacts of the Marcellus Shale phenomenon. It appears to be changing lives, the economy, statewide political negotiations, and environmental discussions.
Gas companies are using new technology to extract the gas and they are spending big money to lease land, drill and prep wells, and plan pipelines. Though the Marcellus Shale industry is in the infancy stage, it is going to take years to fully understand the scope and size of the industry.
The landowners who received money to lease their land formed a group to negotiate leases with Chesapeake and reached a deal that secured $5,750 per acre for drilling rights on their total 37,000 acres – with even more money to follow with royalties.
“We never thought it would happen,” said Anne Heitsman of Susquehanna County, who has gas wells going in on her property. “Obviously, it has.”
This is just the beginning of a long road that is suggested to continue within the next 30 to 50 years. Marcellus Shale is booming and talk is expected to continue within the next few years.