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Wetzel County Commission
200 Main Street
New Martinsville, WV 26155

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County Assessor - Gas Industry Assessment Procedures & Potential

During the past few years, Wetzel County has seen a substantial growth in lease and sale transactions related to the Marcellus Shale formation. The potential for creating wealth for the owners of those mineral rights as well as for the gas companies leasing, drilling, and producing natural gas in Wetzel County is unlimited.

In the gas industry, it is a general practice for a producer to lease the right to drill on a property and, if gas is found, to participate in the revenues from such production. Generally, in past years it was customary for the property owner to receive 1/8 or 12.5% of the revenues from production (royalty interest) and the producer to receive 7/8 or 87.5% of the revenues from production (working interest). These percentages can and do fluctuate, however, according to individual lease terms agreed to by both parties. Both the royalty interest and the working interest created through the lease are subject to property taxation in the State of West Virginia. When production begins, the royalty interest is listed and assessed on the real property books and the working interest is listed and assessed on the personal property books. Therefore, 100% of the receipts from production are assessed annually.

The appraisal formula for producing wells is somewhat complicated because it includes estimating annual production for 1st year wells, utilizing actual royalties for 2nd year wells, and calculating a 3 year average for older wells. The appraisal model then capitalizes that value to predict a future income stream and then discounts that future income to a present worth value. In our area the appraised value of the royalty interest usually equals 2-5 times the amount of one year’s income. The assessed value would be 60% of that amount.


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