Shale rock formations that contain natural gas lay beneath large tracks of land in the United States, crossing city, county and state boundaries. In order to tap into this resource, oil and gas developers have to have access to the surface in order to drill, and ownership of the mineral rights to that land. This means extensive negotiations with both private and public landowners in many areas. In the United States, the federal government owns almost 700 million acres which are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), making this organization an important player in how many resources companies have access to. The BLM sells mineral leases at public auction. Private land owners can decide to sell mineral and access rights as they see fit.
FAQ about BLM mineral leases:
BLM leasing regulations governing oil and gas: