Easement negotiations go awry in Oxford

OXFORD – It’s getting tense out in the country where Norse Energy Inc. is pushing to obtain easements for a pipeline that would put its many natural gas wells into production.

The company’s wells in Chenango County’s northern towns of Preston, Plymouth and Smyrna are already online via transmission pipelines north, but infrastructure is needed going south to connect wells to the Millennium line just over the border in Broome County.

Misunderstandings between landmen and landowners, neighbors and even clients and their lawyers have fueled an air of underhandedness against the company.

A recent miscommunication between a landowner in the Town of Oxford and a landsman contracted by Norse ended a potential right-of-way contract. It also brought two neighbors closer in defiance against leasing.

Absentee landowner Tom Ruter of New Jersey, whose lawyer was in easement negotiations with a landman on his behalf, received a call from a neighboring property owner in Oxford who mistakenly told him that the lawyer with whom he was consulting was retained by Norse.

“I thought my lawyer was representing my interests,” he said.

The neighbor said a landman (who was soliciting both landowners on behalf of Norse) told him the information and, further, suggested he wouldn’t need an attorney for his own right-of-way contract because a legal template was already available.

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