Channel 11 investigates property drilling

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PITTSBURGH - Ed Nowak planned to build his dream home on a prime spot on his 134 acres in Amity Township.

Instead, Chevron Oil and Gas bought the mineral rights under his land and built a five-well drilling platform at that location.

"Unfortunately,  there again they take the best piece of property and then they stage this," he told Channel 11’s Alan Jennings.

Nowak said he is frustrated but admits he only owned the surface rights.

"If you’re a surface owner you basically sit back and watch," he said.

Real estate attorney Kevin Brown recommends always getting a title search to see who owns the land below the land surface.

"The thing is that most people have only bought this because this was sold way back when," he said.

When Nowak bought the property 13 years ago he knew he did not own the mineral rights but he never dreamed his peaceful property would be used for gas drilling. 

He said he is also frustrated by being questioned on his own property, something Channel 11’s Alan Jennings witnessed.

Jennings was approached a Chevron worker while walking with Nowak on his property.

"You’re really not on your location, you're on my location,” Nowak told the employee.

Chevron told Channel 11 that they are addressing Nowak’s concerns and that, "We are optimistic that we will continue to discuss and resolve them.”

"You've got to be very careful whenever you lease your land to make sure everything’s covered OK so that you make sure you get as much as you can when you lease your land," said Brown.

Nowak says Chevron did compensate him for using his land, but he knows Chevron has more room to drill and there is nothing he can do about it. 

Pennsylvania law requires landowners also receive royalties of a well’s production.

According to a recent report, the estimated royalties paid to Marcellus shale land and mineral-owners in Pennsylvania last year along reached $731 million.

Chevron released the follow statement: “Chevron, Mr. Nowak, and his legal counsel have been in communication on numerous occasions to understand and address Mr. Nowak’s concerns. We are optimistic that we will continue to discuss and resolve them.”