Divided Rights, Expanded Conflict: Split Estate Impacts on Surface Owner Perceptions of Shale Gas Drilling

Alan R. Collins and Kofi Nkansah


A survey was conducted on West Virginia land owners with completed shale gas wells located on their property. The research objective was to determine how the separation of mineral from surface rights impacted reported problems and satisfaction with natural gas drilling. Empirical results of theoretical models showed that split estate owners had a statistically greater number of reported problems with drilling. Surface owner dissatisfaction with drilling outcomes was explained primarily by the number of reported problems and nonmonetary compensation. Our results provide motivation for policies to strengthen surface owner rights. (JEL K11, Q48)

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