LEETONIA - About 100 residents attended an informational meeting sponsored by Leetonia Shale, LLC at the high school on Saturday, according to Terry May, president of the company.
Gas, oil and mineral rights for the largest land tracts have been gobbled up by major players leaving many smaller areas of scattered acreage unsigned but still sitting atop valuable resources.
Property owners in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays have voluntarily pooled their resources to attract the attention of companies exploring for the gas and oil and that is May's aim.
May said the oil and gas companies are reluctant to lease smaller parcels because of all the "legwork involved" including the time involved in negotiating leases, title searches also make it costly.
"If we can come together as a group," May said, "and get nearly everyone in the village to agree to be a part of this, we can do most of the work and present the oil and gas company with a list of parcels, saving them time and money."
He estimated there is about 1,400 unleased acres between Leetonia and Washingtonville - the area his company is focused on.
Two meetings in August collected contact information from 158 Leetonia residents.
May said he was happy with Saturday's turnout.
"A number of people had been here before and wanted an update, most were trying to find out what was going on," May said, noting the village of Washingtonville had signed with Leetonia Shale, indicating it was interested.
He explained that by signing "it holds them in with us ... we can't get a lock-in bid with an oil company until people are with us."
Franklin Square resident Don Shepard, who owns five acres in Salem Township, signed on to be a part of the group. Leetonia Shale says there is no fee to become part of the group but four percent of the bonus fee will be charged upon signing.
"I talked to Terry (May) a month ago and at that time it was $5,000 per acre and 20 percent royalties." Shepard said. "Today it's about $3,500 per acre and 20 percent ... it's comparable to others but they said it could go higher, or lower."
Lisbon resident Bill Bryce owns three acres at U.S 30 and Depot Road in Center Township. "I'm at the hot spot," he said, adding he was going to take Leetonia Shale, LLC paperwork home to look it over.
Local concerns include drilling rigs, their location and size.
Leetonia Shale said the lots within the village are too small for the rigs and drilling will be on large parcels outside the limits.
Regarding pipelines running through property, there will not be any because it is cost prohibitive and there would be a separate agreement if it wasn't.
"My goal is to get everybody in town signed up because every time they've tried (to sign up) they wouldn't take them because the didn't have enough land," May said in August.
Call 330-921-9839 for more information.