Bernell McGehee, a Liberty accountant who owns mineral rights and publishes a website that tracks Tuscaloosa Marine Shale developments, said landowners in Louisiana can get better terms because rules there favor oil companies less. He wants Mississippi to reduce the leverage that oil companies have to force owners to sign leases, as well as stop allowing companies to permit units of up to 2,000 acres.
“If the oil is there, they’re going to take it,” McGehee said. “We’ve been so easy that we’re kind of being taken advantage of.”
The Oil & Gas Board plans to discuss possible changes at a 9 a.m. Wednesday meeting at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit. One proposal would allow the board to look at drillers’ development plans and finances to evaluate how likely drilling is.
Leach said any decision will likely be delayed until November.
The land rush began building over the summer as new entrants to the field competed to stake out drilling units in Amite and Wilkinson counties. The number of units pending approval has ballooned to 61, leading the board to call a time-out on approvals.