BARNESVILLE-An agreement approved Monday to lease more than 1,000 acres of village-owned land to gas drillers, boosted Barnesville city coffers by nearly $6 million.
"We're going to be very cautious," said Barnesville Mayor Ron Bischof. "We're going to sit down, make a plan and carry it out."
At Monday night's village council meeting, after a unanimous affirmative vote, Mayor Bischof and Council President Dale Bunting signed an agreement with representatives from Antero Resources to lease 1,047 acres of village-owned property outside of the corporation limits for $5,700 per acre-an amount just shy of $6 million.
The deal, which also includes 20 percent royalties on production, was one year in the making and was facilitated by local attorney Ed Sustersic and the Utica Landowners Group LLC.
Antero Resources was formed in 2002 and is based in Denver, Colo. It is one of the largest Marcellus Shale producers in West Virginia with more than 100 wells. According to Antero Land Manager Chris Treml, the company has 300 horizontal wells in various basins in the U.S. The company has three wells in Monroe and Noble counties, two completed and one under construction.
"It means a lot to us to work with different communities," Treml said. "We want to thank the Village of Barnesville. This is the first step in an ongoing relationship. It's important to us that people know we want to work with them as far as leasing and drilling."
Treml added that projects other towns have completed with funds from Antero include construction of a community center and fencing around a school.
"I feel good about this," noted Sustersic. "We'll continue to work with Barnesville and expand the relationship we've started."
The Utica Landowners Group began studying the oil and gas leasing market in 2007 and has attained the highest price in the state of Ohio paid by an energy company for land in Monroe, Noble and Guernsey counties. The ULG will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Union Local High School for landowners in western Belmont County, including the townships of Somerset, Warren, Wayne, Goshen, Union, Kirkwood and Flushing. Those interested in attending should bring tax duplicates and can call 740 -635-0348 for more information.