Matters concerning land ownership and leasing can be complicated and involve leasing and rights stretching back years, if not decades. You may have a development or non-development lease on your Ohio property, and not even know it - particularly if your property is situated in the highly coveted Utica Shale region. So how can you find out if you have a lease on your land already, and who owns the rights to that lease?
One of the quickest ways to know, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil & Gas Resources, is to discover an unplugged well on your property. If you have a producing well on your property, there may well be a lease in effect. In absence of physical evidence, you are easily able to either check with the county recorder's office for a copy of any existing lease, or conduct a title search on your property to uncover any lease information.
You may wonder how you could have a lease on your property and not even know it. This can happen in a number of situations, particularly if you recently acquired a property that was placed into lease by the previous owner. While the prior owner should have disclosed the lease to you, if they did not that does not mean it does not exist. It may be wise to conduct a title check on your property if you are in an area considered desirable by oil and gas companies.
Please consider this blog post an informational reference without valid standing as actionable legal counsel.