Norse backs off on giving homeowners free gas from their own wells; supplies propane instead

NORWICH – A side-benefit once touted by natural gas companies as an enticement to leasing your mineral rights to them is now being considered unsafe.

Norse Energy Inc. alerted more than a dozen leasees two weeks ago that it would no longer permit property owners to run private gas lines from the producing on wells on their property to power their homes, farms and businesses free of charge. The company offered, instead, to assume the cost of converting the homeowners to propane as well as the cost of the propane going forward.

“We’ve gotten away from the direct connects due to safety issues associated with being physically tied into a producing well,” said Regulatory Compliance Department Spokesman Dennis Holbrook.

Norse Energy has 150,000 acres under lease in Chenango and Madison counties. It is unknown how many actual leases that acreage represents, and the number of property owners who have already connected to their wells or had planned to in the future. The “more than a dozen” leases Holbrook referred to are in both Chenango and Madison counties.

The company released its statement because, according to Holbrook, some of those contacted felt they “were losing something of value.”

“They are getting the equivalent value. We are not the big, bad, gas company they may think we are. Obviously, we are doing this because it’s the right thing to do, not because we have any financial gain out of it,” he said.

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