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Drillers want to work with surface owners

Letter from Jerry Mchugh Jr.

Surface Rights – July 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine


After reading Representative Kathleen Curry’s letter in the June 2005 edition I wanted to weigh in regarding oil and gas companies’ use of surface for drilling and production operations. Rep. Curry has proposed surface use bills so that industry will be forced to negotiate agreements with surface owners BEFORE moving equipment in to drill.

This already happens in my company and with other operators I know. Industry operators make significant effort to work with landowners in the drilling of their new wells. Rep. Curry is writing a bill for the fringe extremists who can’t, won’t, and don’t desire to work with others. There are these fringe extreme elements in all parts of life, and intransigent surface owners are some of the most difficult people I have EVER worked with.

Having worked in the oil and gas business for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that companies make every effort to work with surface owners in split estate lands. Operators must work with landowners in obtaining reasonable agreements.

It is in our best interest to have good relations with surface owners. Past employers and my own company, San Juan Resources, Inc. go beyond reasonable efforts to work with split estate landowners.

Rep. Curry acknowledges that there are vast reserves of oil and gas minerals underlying our state and the entire Western United States.

What she does not mention is that there are vast vistas of open space that people have moved out here for, and that these surface estates overlie the vast quantities of minerals that can be developed for America’s energy needs.

What she also does not mention is that people move into these areas and refuse to think that there is an oil and gas development possibility and that the rules favor the mineral estate in this country.

With population growth and demographic change, retirees, ranchette owners, and urban escapees inhabit these areas with increasing abandon, thinking that they are exempt from having their little piece of heaven drilled upon.

Very truly yours,

Jerry McHugh, Jr.


Operating Affiliate:

San Juan Resources, Inc.

Oil and Gas Exploration and Production