Of the shape of things to come
When a virgin area is going to be exploited by frackers, they send in the landmen to sign up as much land as cheaply as possible. I have had landmen in my family and had three as friends – one drank himself to death, one shot himself, and one is still out there doing what he can to sign up rubes cheap: “Look for the dudes with the beards driving the buggies”. Landmen are the used car salesmen end of the oil and gas business. Chesapeake’s Aubrey McClendon evidently started out as a landman. Get the picture ?
The way landmen treat landowners is indicative of the way frackers treat everybody that gets in their way. Ask Joe Heath at Fleased. He tries to help landowners that have been conned or crooked on scammy leases that they can’t get out of. Sometimes even the frackers try to get out of their own leases.
In New York, the landmen only have to sign up 60% of the area they need for a well spacing. The government, the State of New York, will force the remaining landowners into the well under the worst terms possible, via Compulsory Integration. In this regard the DEC is acting as a landman on behalf of the frackers – one with powers of eminent domain. A landman’s dream come true.
After the landmen come the lobbyists, to re-write the compulsory integration laws. Then the fracking shills, gas holes and charlatans who try to talk towns out of defending themselves. Then there are the victims. No wonder somebody made a movie about how the process starts – with the landmen.
The producers have shown admirable restraint in portraying the Frack Wars. In order to avoid an X rating, they must have had to cut scenes of Truthland’s Shelly DePue’s bubbling annulus. Some things are just too gross to delve into, even in a movie about fracking.
New York landowners that are looking to lease have taken steps to protect themselves from iffy frackers. They have formed leasing groups, known as “clusterfracks”. So that their lawyers can put them into details in violation of state and federal securities laws. And they have hired lobbyist/ lawyers to sue town boards, so that the frackers can spud a well anywhere they like. And have hired lawyers to persuade town boards to turn over the keys to the frackers. Just like the landmen wanted. Clever, eh ?
Here’s the trailer . . .