Oil and gas company seeks BOE mineral rights

PARKERSBURG – An oil and gas company is seeking to lease the mineral rights from the Wood County Board of Education.

At Tuesday’s board of education meeting assistant superintendent Mike Fling told board members the school system was contacted last week by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. regarding a lease. Fling said an abstractor for the company uncovered a half-acre parcel of land deeded for a community school in the 1870s.

Amuzette and Mary Warne deeded a half-acre of their 24-acre land for a community school in the Lubeck District of Wood County.

The will also included a plat, designating the property lines. Fling told board officials crews exploring the site discovered the stone markers still in tact.

The community school is long gone and the land is now claimed by another property owner.

“We don’t own the top,” Fling said. “It was abandoned by the school system.”

But the school system still retains the mineral rights. And Cabot is seeking a lease of those rights.

“From the deed office; if it was reserved for a school – as a school system – it comes to us,” Fling said.

“The lease information was brought to us. We did not seek it out.”

According to Fling, Cabot officials approached the school system seeking to lease the parcel, located off Larkmead Road. Cabot is offering a bonus of $500 per acre for the lease and a 15.5 percent royalty.

If the well produces, the school system would receive 15.5 percent of the royalties, split among the lease holders. Potential revenue could be several years away.

Fling said land surrounding the parcel has already been leased by Cabot.

“I’m not Donald Trump, but the price just went up,” board member Jim Fox joked.

Fling said school system attorneys will review the proposal and determine what steps need to be taken. Fling hopes the matter can be reviewed and a decision can be made at the next board meeting.