Glade Road Neighborhood Alliance, representing about 1,500 landowners in northern Hurst, reports that XTO Energy and its land agent, Holland Acquisitions, has returned hundreds of leases that its members signed at formal meetings with the only explanation that they were "not accepted" and no bonus will be paid. Organizer Jim Whelan said his group estimates that between 40 percent and 50 percent of its members signed leases before XTO rescinded its offer on Oct. 16. XTO was offering a $24,000/acre bonus and 25 percent royalty. "Our view is they invited us to a signing party and the terms were negotiated," Whelan said. Alliance leaders are examining options, he said. XTO declined to comment.
In the wake of the sudden halt in Barnett Shale leasing that hit in October amid plunging natural gas prices, producers typically stated that anyone who had returned a signed lease or had been issued a bank draft would be paid a signing bonus. Neighborhood leaders in Southwest Fort Worth, Colleyville, Bedford, Arlington and elsewhere have all reported that producers dealing with their groups have honored that commitment. And according to the Alliance, XTO sent this email to organizers on Oct. 16:
XTO Energy regretfully rescinds the offer to GRNA immediately.
Holland Acquisitions signed 80 leases last night on behalf of XTO. The signing event last night was for the Wintergreen II neighborhood, and the only folks who were turned away were those from other neighborhoods, for whom Holland did not have paperwork prepared. Again, no one from Wintergreen II was turned away, and Holland closed up shop when no one showed up for 45 minutes. Anyone who has signed a lease that Holland has in its possession as of last night will be paid.
The volatile market conditions we are all living through have caused corporations around the globe to refocus corporate strategy.
Ryan M. Skelly
XTO ENERGY INC.
810 Houston St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Instead, "anybody who went to the signings and signed with Holland - all those leases were returned by XTO," Whelan said. "There's a lot of people who are not too happy about it."
-- Jim Fuquay