Once a company has obtained the subsurface rights to a resource, they will plan how to develop it. At this point, no permit has been issued for any activity on the land. The company must first discuss the project with landowners and make sure surface lease agreements are in place.
Oil and gas companies often hire land agents to speak on their behalf and work out the arrangements for lease agreements with landowners. They may initially contact you by phone or they may arrive at your doorstep with a draft contract to discuss. If you were not aware that a project was being considered in your area, you might feel unprepared for the conversation.
It’s important you have all the right information about the resource project they are presenting to you. It is equally as important to work towards effective discussions with land agents and resource companies to find the most benefits available to you.
The negotiation process may seem overwhelming and at times it might seem the best alternative to involve the Surface Rights Board (SRB) in the decision of the compensation agreement. Landowners should be aware, there is more latitude to build creative compensation packages during discussions directly between landowners and companies. Once the SRB becomes involved in compensation discussions, the considerations are constrained to what is outlined in legislation.
A further description of how to approach the lease negotiation process is included in the Guide to Negotiating Lease Agreements.