Leni Santoro | Democrat
CONSULTING PETROLEUM GEOLOGIST Don Zaengle explains the type of rock found in the Marcellus Shale is very prous and breaks easily, thereby allowing gas companies to get ot the gas contained within the pores of the rock more easily.
Learning to deal: meet the gas brokers
By Leni Santoro
WHITE LAKE When it comes to gas drilling there’s a new face in town.
On Wednesday night at the White Lake Firehouse invited guests including several landowners whose properties exceeded 100 acres and even included a lake and Town of Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm were on hand to hear a presentation from Mike Schwartz, broker for RSL Group and Don Zaengle, a consulting petroleum geologist.
“RSL is a brokers group. We are the first of its kind in the country,” began Schwartz as he introduced Zaengle and explained a bit about the purpose for the meeting.
In recent months, coalitions have begun forming in order to pool acreage and get a better price for the natural gas that may exist on individual landowner properties.
“The difference between us and a coalition is that in a coalition they try to gather as many acres as possible. They then turn around and try to sell them to a gas company...When they [the gas companies] sign the coalition, it’s one parcel, one contract, one deal.”
Schwartz went on to explain that, with RSL, “every landowner and every piece of property is different. I’m a broker. It’s my job to get you as much as I can from the buyer. In this case, the landowner is the seller, and the gas company is the buyer. I work for the seller only.”
In addition, Schwartz pointed out that the RSL Group works with a team of lawyers as well as consulting petroleum geologists such as Zaengle to ensure that the wishes of the landowner are adhered to in any contract with the gas company. RSL also is doing a series of informative meetings such as the one on Wednesday night to ensure that folks understand what they should be looking for before getting into an agreement with a gas company. Anyone is welcome to attend these meetings and he hopes to have a follow up public meeting in November.
With RSL, Schwartz and Zaengle explained landowners pay a commission to the broker and there is a contract, but they also get expertise that otherwise could cost the landowner more than they can handle. Schwartz feels the landowner’s interests are sacrosanct, not as a group but as individuals. Each person signing with RSL would, after negotiations with the gas companies, have an individual contract. This he says is different from the coalitions.
In keeping with the information end of the presentation there followed a lengthy slideshow presentation and question and answer period led by consulting petroleum geologist Zaengle.
During his presentation, Zaengle pointed out repeatedly that people needed to be aware not just of the Marcellus Shale formation, but what lay beneath it and showed several slides comparing the different strata of sedimentary rock where gas could be hiding.
To learn more about the RSL Group, go to www.rslgroupllc.com. To contact Mike Schwartz, call 866-6666. To contact Don Zaengle, call 607-397-8513.