Appalachian Basin

Landowners Get Financial Tutorial on Marcellus in Susquehanna Co.

PNC Bank hosted a great event for landowners last night at Mountain View High School, in Kingsley, PA (Susquehanna Co.). Those in attendance had the opportunity to listen to three different speakers about areas of interest for landowners, and then to ask them a few questions. Unfortunately, I cannot share any video from the event with you (they said I couldn’t post it!), but I will give you a brief overview of what the seminar entailed. PNC plans to host another event in August in a different part of the state, so keep your eyes open for details on that.The first speaker was Michelle O’Brien, Esq., of the O’Brien Law Group LLC, who talked about “What Issues Are Facing Landowners Today.” Michelle is a lawyer who recently opened her own practice dealing exclusively with oil and gas in the Wilkes-Barre area. She works with clients across the state to negotiate leases and understand documents they receive from the industry. In her talk she went over everything from the different types of estates, or distinctions of ownership, in Pennsylvania covering everything from surface rights to subsurface rights, all the way to rights of support. She also discussed different options individuals have when their leases are coming to an end or have moved into the second term. Dave Matchett, of PNC Wealth Management, then gave a presentation on “New Wealth from Natural Gas.” The presentation focused on what a landowner should do after they have signed a lease, such as finding out about taxes and investment options. They answered questions about trusts, estates and gifting, and other areas of interest for those present. Matchett also gave insight into important questions to ask a financial advisor before selecting them.

The final speaker of the night was  Trevor Walczak, the Vice President of the National Association of Royalty Owners, PA Chapter (NARO). NARO is a great, pro-responsible development organization, and the only national organization whose sole interest is in the landowner. Walczak said that the Pennsylvania Chapter of NARO is working to “shore up our partnership with industry, so we can stand together and combat the misinformation regarding development in Pennsylvania.”

He also did a brief presentation on current Pennsylvania legislation, such as the Check Stub Bill, authored by Senator Gene Yaw, and the various tax bills making their way around Harrisburg. He reminded the audience that Pennsylvania isn’t the only state in the country interested in developing its shale resources. A lot of other states are too, and many consider themselves in direct competition with Pennsylvania for rigs, workers and investment. The harder you make it for companies in PA to come here and compete, the easier you make it for other states to lure PA investment dollars elsewhere. We’ve already started to see some of this happen in Texas, where the state recently suspended its severance tax to attract rigs to its Eagleford Shale formation.

Overall, the night was one  that provided everyone, myself included, with a lot of valuable information. If you can get out and go to one of these types of seminars they are a great resource for getting your questions answered about your property and what is happening across the state!

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