FOWLER - Richard and Ida Faber were among more than several dozen families celebrating Wednesday afternoon as they signed the shale mineral rights away for their properties.
"I guess I'm going to have to buy my wife some flowers," Richard Faber joked.
He can afford it.
Faber and his wife received a bonus check for leasing the mineral rights of the 240 acres of land they own that runs from state Route 193 to Sodom Hutchings Road.
"The real money comes when we get products out of the wells," Faber said.
Ida Faber said the couple now will do a lot of traveling and visiting their children and other family members.
They leased their shale mineral rights to Halcon Resources. The company has been in oil and gas exploration and production since the 1970s.
James Brumbaugh, president of Shale Investment Fund, said Wednesday's event was important because the 50 to 60 checks being given out could change the families' lives significantly. A second set of checks will be issued today. In the two days, about $7 million in checks are being issued.
Shale Investment Fund is a land services company out of Pittsburgh that conducts town hall meetings and canvasses areas to offer property owners opportunities to lease the Utica and Marcellus shale rights of their properties. It also purchases shallow well drillers.
"Trumbull has not had any wells drilled yet," Brumbaugh said. "We hope ours will be the first wells to be drilled. No one knows what the potential in Trumbull county is at this time."
Brumbaugh said in Carroll County, where the push began in Ohio, the wells have been producing about 49 percent oil and 51 percent has been natural gas and other methanes.
"As you go north, Columbiana was a little be less oil and Mahoning was a little less than was found in Columbiana," he said. "The royalty checks will be larger depending what is found in the ground. The more oil, the larger the checks will be."
Brumbaugh said the drop in natural gas prices is hurting companies.
"Last year, we were in western Pennsylvania, where most of the wells are dry gas wells," he said. "Those prices have so plummeted that a lot of companies are coming to eastern Ohio to extract the oil.
"Oil is low because of a glut in supply, but oil is low because of the economic worldwide recession," he said. "Once the recession is over, the price of oil will go back up."
Shale Investment Fund began leasing properties in Trumbull county about seven to eight weeks ago.
"Right now, we've leased about 15,000 to 18,000 acres," he said. "For a drill acre, we need about 640 continuous acres. We are getting as much as we can, so we can have one pad but drill multiple directions underneath."
Brumbaugh said they would like to obtain about 100,000 acres.
Once the company gathers the needed acreage, drillers will begin bringing their drill rigs to find out what is here.
Marian Koren and Roy Griebel signed the lease papers to receive $3,000 per acre for their 51 acres of land.
"Our property is swamp and wetlands," Griebel said. "It is woods that is dying because it is too wet. It is making the land productive again. It was not productive at all."
Koren said, "We are using the money to settle our estate." She said she wishes that her mother, who died last year, had lived long enough to experience it.
Frank Domjancic, 95, has owned his 24 acres of property for about 35 years.
"This is something good for the Valley," he said. "Because of this, they are putting in a new steel mill and repairing the older ones."
Larry and Anita Goodhart own approximately 40 acres in Fowler. Larry Goodhart said when they first heard about the drilling, they believed it was "a flash in the pan."
Vincent Flask, a Warren City Council member and a representative with Shale Investment Fund, said, "This event where we are giving checks will show people in the area that this is real.
''It has been difficult to separate fact from fictions. Fracking has been going on for a long time in Trumbull county with very few problems. This is going to be a good thing for the Valley. There is a reason why V&M Star opened here."
Warren, for example, already benefited because it has leased its golf course for drilling and is prepared to sell water to companies for drilling, Flask said.