Oil and Gas Matters and Energy Law

Oil and Gas exploration and production have been a part of Pennsylvania’s history since “Colonel” Edwin Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville in 1859. It is undeniable that oil and gas exploration and production will remain an integral part of Pennsylvania’s heritage for the foreseeable future.

With the advent advanced drilling technologies, new sources of oil and gas have been discovered in our region. Marcellus and Utica Shale have created an “Oil and Gas Rush” in Pennsylvania akin to the California Gold Rush of 1849. Property owners have experienced “land men” knocking at their doors and endless mailings from oil and gas companies offering bonus and royalty payments beyond their wildest dreams.

Charlton & Charlton represents clients facing the uncertain world of oil and gas exploration. The leases that land men give to landowners often read like they are in a different language (i.e. habendum clauses, drainage provisions, unitization, force majeure, warranties). Indeed, there are terms and covenants in oil and gas leases that the landowner, without intense research, may never know or be aware of.

Joe and Katie Charlton have negotiated numerous oil and gas leases for clients. These leases range from a few acres (with the client’s home on the land) to hundreds of acres (including farms and investment properties). Joe and Katie have also represented landowner groups who have coordinated with one another in an effort to maximize their bargaining power. With regard to lease disputes and oil and gas rights, Joe and Katie have successfully negotiated Releases of “old” leases that were claimed by gas companies to have held the clients’ property.


With the increase in activity in this area, attorneys who have never looked at or read a gas lease in their careers are professing that they practice in the area of “oil and gas.” Ask one of these “oil and gas attorneys” to handle a lease dispute, an Action to Quiet Title or an Action in Ejectment and you could be rewarded with a blank stare.

Joe and Katie Charlton handle more than just oil and gas lease negotiations. They represent clients with regard to lease disputes, oil and gas title issues, property issues, oil, gas and mineral trespass and Pipeline Right-of-Way agreements.

Joe and Katie own a farm of their own and have handled their own oil and gas lease as well as gas leases for their families. They understand the concerns of landowners and that these concerns differ and vary widely from client to client. Our philosophy is that experiencing something for ourselves is the best way to get in touch with what your clients’ want.


After negotiating endlessly with a land agent or land man, clients often are overjoyed to have “the ordeal” over with. But! Signing an oil and gas lease is hardly the end of the process. Charlton & Charlton offers a wide array of Estate Planning tools to help clients deal with large up-front bonus payments and royalty streams that they may receive in the future. Each of these can have serious tax consequences and can affect a client’s existing estate plan. Many of our clients’ existing estate plans are not built to deal with an influx of cash and a stream of royalty income for the foreseeable future. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they get their bonus check or waiting until it looks like they will “get a well” before they start planning. The BEST time to plan is BEFORE you receive these monies. Estate Plans often take time to assess, map and implement. (For more information on planning your estate click on Estate Planning).


If you need assistance in negotiating an oil and gas lease or have any questions regarding oil, gas, minerals, leases or property disputes … give us a call. Our initial consultation is free (at least you’ll get a free cup of coffee out of it).