Landowners, Others Seeing the Impact of Energy Investment

by Garry Hoffmann  on Monday, Aug. 27, 2007 12:00 am  

"I really enjoy my job. It's different every day," said Reves, whose deed research has turned up century-old documents reflecting land transactions in which the seller, for whatever reason, reserved the mineral interests for himself and his heirs.

But it's the here and now of the Fayetteville Shale Play that's been good to Reves. Yes, she agreed, the work pays much better than a previous stint delivering beauty supplies.

"It's very much helped me to do things for myself," Reves said. "It's given me the opportunity to buy the home that I wanted."

Reves and her husband, James, live in Dover with their 4-year-old daughter, Zo‘.

"Seek Out Legal Advice"

Back in Searcy, Lyndell Wyatt said he wasn't living the dream. Not yet, anyway. He was back from a break in the interview, using the time to bale hay.

The 760 acres that his father, Sonny Wyatt, owns in White County are spread over seven sections - as few as 3 acres in one, as many as 400 acres in another.

In early 2005, the Wyatts and a neighbor negotiated leases for roughly 2,000 acres with T.S. Dudley Land Co., the leasing agent for SEECO. Terms of the five-year contract included a signing bonus in the $100-an-acre range, Lyndell Wyatt said, with a one-eighth (12.5 percent) royalty stake.

SEECO has yet to drill for gas on the Wyatts' property but has completed six wells in two of the seven sections that include Wyatt acreage, giving the Searcy farm family a fractional interest in production payments.

"We're drawing royalties on three of six [wells] at this point," Lyndell Wyatt said.

The payments, amounting to $1 a day per acre, are equally divided: "The more land you have in the section, the bigger your piece of the pie," Wyatt said.

SEECO did lay gravel pads as a precursor to drilling on the Wyatts' property - one in a sod field, the other in a hay meadow - but put the wells on hold. Wyatt now wishes the lease had set time limits for such inactivity.



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