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Turning Gas into Gold

Dallas-Ft. Worth
Turning Gas into Gold
In a race for energy and cost-effective fuel, the Barnett Shale isn't only one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in the US, it's a gold mine, too, K&L Gates partner Martin Garza tells us. OK, not literally, but follow along. There's gold in them thar fields.
 
K&L Gates partner Martin Garza and associate Billie Ann Maxwell
We snapped Martin and associate Billie Ann Maxwell at the Comerica Building, home of K&L Gates' recently refurbished offices. Why should a building owner in the middle of the city care about the Barnett Shale? Martin says traditional real estate owners and developers should know the status of their mineral rights because it's a chance to turn an idle asset into cash. Typically, real estate owners look only at the surface development, but Martin says they should examine their entire portfolios to learn the status of mineral rights and consider potential for development below ground. “It's a resource that may be just sitting out there. Drilling doesn't have to happen right on your site,” he says. “With directional drilling technologies, a company can access the natural gas on your property without impacting your surface operations.”
drilling rig
The Barnett Shale stretches from the western edge of Dallas toward Denton to the north, and west and south of the City of Fort Worth, covering about 5k to 6k square miles and between 16-24 counties. Estimates of its natural gas resources range up to as much as 40 trillion cubic feet  of natural gas. Martin, who advises clients on municipal  drilling ordinances, says the mineral rights on unleased acreage could mean millions of dollars sitting untapped. Because gas and CRE industries don't necessarily operate in the same cycles, it's a chance for a retail developer, for instance, to make money when tenants aren't banging down the doors. “If you're a landowner, think about what you have below the ground and how to use that as part of your overall real estate strategy,” Martin advises. “Mineral development can work hand-in-hand with surface development, even in any urban environment.”
Related Topics: Barnett Shale, Martin Garza