Landmen for Dale Resources and Western Production Co. have both been working portions of the neighborhood for Chesapeake Energy, but not in competition against each other. Here's how the situation has played out:
- The Woodland West Lake Association, represented by its own already-established homeowner association, was offered a signing bonus of $4,000 per acre by Dale and most homeowners signed up three months ago.
- The Woodland West Estates neighborhood, also represented by its own association, negotiated a deal with Dale for a signing bonus of $15,500 per acre in late December.
- Woodland West Addition, which doesn't have an HOA, organized a response to lease offers and has accepted a signing bonus of $15,500 per acre from Dale.
- The final portion of Woodland West, termed Woodland West Associates for purposes of the lease offers, was offered leases by Western last week at a signing bonus of $5,000 per acre, says Mel Goodson, who represents Woodland West Associates but says he actually lives in Woodland West Addition and falls under the $15,500 offer. This portion of the neighborhood also doesn't have an HOA.
Goodson says Dale's offer of $15,500 is "fine." But he says Woodland West Associates homeowners were stunned when a Western landman unveiled his company's offer of $5,000 during a meeting of those people Jan. 5.
"I almost laughed," says Goodson, a retired systems analyst. "Everyone was stunned. A couple were mad. Surely they didn't think we were stupid enough to accept $5,000 when everybody around us had already gotten fifteen-five. This was a deal that seems to me these guys must have worked out in a back room."
Goodson says the 175 Woodland West Associates homeowners in attendance voted "unanimously to stick together" and demand "a much better offer."
Goodson had been trying to organize Woodland West as a whole since the fall. But he says he gradually discovered that Dale and Western were "quietly" working exclusive portions of the area, and urging leaders of each neighborhood segment to keep negotiations quiet.
Had the whole neighborhood stuck together, "we could have had 1,000 homes or better," he says. "We would have had a real strong negotiating position."
"However, they are not competing offers," he said in an interview. "Chesapeake has given Western one section of the neighborhood we are authorized to lease for them, and they've given Dale another section. Chesapeake is the only one that can really develop their minerals, and Western is the agent authorized to lease for them."
Jerri Robbins, Chesapeake's public relations manager for the Barnett Shale, said in an emailed statement that "there are several factors involved in developing mineral lease offers in residential locations, which include competition and access to drill sites and pipelines.
"For example, in the Woodland West area, some of the offers were driven to a higher level due to competitive offers in nearby Dalworthington Gardens," she said. "The current offers are based upon access to potential drill sites that can reach and produce the minerals for lessors in those particular neighborhoods. Offers may go up – or down – based on continuing competition and availability of drilling locations."
Goodson's group has been keeping homeowners up to date through their web site.
-- Scott Nishimura
(Photos: Woodland West pool, Woodland West park, Woodland West library)
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