Sat., 7:12 pm: Legislation seeks to standardize royalty reporting

WARREN — The number of horizontal mineral royalty checks is small relative to the number of concerns a local oil and gas attorney says he has been hearing from land owners about the deductions drillers take from the checks.

While the deductions may be justified or completely proper, often times there is no way for the landowner to know for certain because Ohio law, unlike other states, does not require the oil and gas companies to provide standardized royalty statements.

“Deductions are being taken that are not contemplated in the lease,” said Alan D. Wenger, a Youngstown attorney and chairman of the Oil & Gas Law Practice Group. “In Ohio, unlike some states, there is no standardization about what needs to be included. I believe it would be valuable for all sides, for the payor and the payee to have standardized reporting.”

Apparently state Rep. Jack Cera agrees. The Democrat from Bellaire in Belmont County, is sponsoring legislation introduced in January, which sets out to standardize royalty reporting. While horizontal drilling has gotten off to a slow start in both Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, Belmont County has seen much quicker drilling results, likely triggering Cera’s involvement.

Read more in Sunday’s Tribune Chronicle.