Nils Peter Johnson

Written by
about Ownership and Transfers
on February 26, 2015

Obtaining Unexpected Profits from Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act


Ohio’s dormant minerals act (DMA) is designed to rejuvenate abandoned oil and gas reservations by granting them to the surface owner (a more detailed explanation of the DMA can be found here).

A basic DMA process with one oil and gas holder:

In a very basic scenario, the Surface Owner notifies the oil and gas Holder that their rights will be declared abandoned in 60 days.  In order to retain their interests, the Holder must record a claim form prior to the 60th day.  A timely filed claim form shuts down the whole process: the Surface Owner cannot re-capture the Holder’s interests.…

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on October 2, 2014

Non-Consenting Landowners and Conflicts Between Leases

This article discusses situations arising when several people own the same piece of land, and only some of them sign an oil and gas lease.  Resolving this issue requires a discussion of basic property ownership principles.

Types of Land Ownership

Ownership in land takes many forms.  Some individuals are the sole owner of their land.  Another piece of land could be owned by several people, such as when brothers and sisters inherit land from a parent.  This joint ownership of a piece of property is usually called a tenancy in common, with the owners themselves known as tenants in common , or co-tenants.

Written by
about Drilling and Producing + Leases
on June 11, 2014

Free Gas Issues

Many oil and gas leases provide the lessor with free gas.  This provision was fairly common in older leases, but has disappeared to a large extent for newer leases tailored to shale gas wells.  Here is a list of frequently asked questions and concerns about landowners exercising their right to free gas under an oil and gas lease:

Who is entitled to free gas?

You may be entitled to free gas if the oil and gas lease affecting your land contains a free gas clause, and if no other houses already use it.  Read your lease carefully, and look for free gas language. …

Fracking Bans and Eminent Domain

As shale drilling increases across the country, fracking bans do, too.  In New York, for example, more than 50 municipalities have issued moratoriums or even outright bans on fracking.  Many Ohio municipalities have followed suit.  A lawsuit addressing this issue is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court: Munroe Falls vs. Beck Energy.

Are municipal fracking bans legal?

This question is still being settled by Ohio courts.  We all know that municipalities are empowered to issue and enforce zoning laws that restrict the use of one’s property.  But does the power to zone also permit them to ban an industrial process like fracking? …