Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

How Property Owners Deal With Landmen And Their Promises

Tim Lambert / WITF-FM

A Lycoming County rig

So what’s it like, when an energy company’s salesman shows up on your front door, trying to get you to sign a natural gas drilling lease?

Innovation Trail’s Emma Jacobs profiles drillers’ “landmen,” and the high-pressure tactics they sometimes use to get people to sign on the dotted line.

Landmen began approaching Ruth Tonachel during the leasing rush that swept through northern Pennsylvania in 2007.

“When they first showed up in 2007,” she says, “there were people knocking on the door a couple times a week, calling constantly, stuff in the mail, phone messages, from all different companies. I mean it was hard to even sort out.”

Tonachel’s property has been in the family since 1790, so she was understandably cautious about the idea of a drilling lease.

The story also looks at landmenreportcard.com, which Jacobs describes as the “Yelp of gas drilling.” Is your landman trustworthy or sketchy? The website helps property owners answer that question, by cataloguing reviews of salesmen’ tactics and track records.

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