NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va.
The rush to tap the Marcellus shale natural gas field has made one West Virginia landowner a millionaire — 22 times over.
Ed Broome, who owns an oil and gas company of his own in Glenville, says Chesapeake Energy off ered him $22 million for 22,000 acres of oil and gas rights he owns in Wetzel County.
Broome told The Intelligencer
of Wheeling he knew it was a good deal. He didn’t pay anything close to that in the mid-1990s.
Broome’s land is on 250 plots stretching from New Martinsville to the borders of Marion and Monongalia counties. Chesapeake purchased developed and undeveloped land alike, he said.
“Partial interest, full interest, developed, undeveloped — they bought it all,” Broome said. “It was just the right time to do it.”
Oklahoma-based Chesapeake said it won’t comment on deals it makes, but it has been known to pay more than the $1,000 per acre it paid Broome.
Chesapeake Appalachia, a subsidiary leasing land for drilling, offered the Ohio County Commission $3,600 per acre to drill at The Highlands and other areas of the county, with royalties ranging from 12.5 percent to 18.75 percent.
The Marcellus shale field is a rich natural gas reserve underlying Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. The gas is locked in tightly compacted rock a mile underground, and freeing it requires horizontal drilling technologies.
In June, the state Department of Environmental Protection said the number of wells being permitted in West Virginia was growing faster than its inspectors’ ability to keep pace.