PetroValues levels the field with data
PetroValues is changing how mineral rights are leased and purchased, protecting landowners, often farmers and ranchers, through data.
Co-founded by president Craig Kaiser, a geologist originally from the Sterling, Colo., area, the website allows mineral owners to see data valuing their rights, giving them a leg up during negotiations.
“The vast majority of times, the people who are on the losing end of those negotiations are the mineral owners because they don’t have the resources that my side of that process typically has. They don’t have geologists, they don’t have engineers, they don’t have professional landmen on their side.”
Kaiser likens it to any transaction completed with a gap of knowledge on one side. The company was founded with the interest of mineral owners in mind, knowing the system leveraged the lack of information. He said the system is a poor one, not only for the mineral owners but eventually for the companies drilling and producing revenue and the end commodity owners.
“The property has to pass through so many different hands before something is drilled and revenue is created, that a lot of people have to get their piece of the pie,” he said. “It’s bad for drillers, it’s bad for mineral owners. We created something similar to Zillow for mineral rights.”
The site offers information to mineral owners including property appraisals, well and production data, valuation reports, upstream consulting, energy research, volume forecasting and in-depth map tools.
The company also provides an online marketplace for minerals. Kaiser said the company isn’t the Robin Hood of companies but rather hopes to change the system that has been in place since the first well was drilled in Titusville, Penn.
Kaiser said it is commonplace for landmen to sell mineral rights multiple times before drilling ever begins. He said mineral and landowners are frequently frustrated by the repeated changing of ownership and are often so upset by the time a company that can actually drill arrives, the owner can be defensive and difficult to work with.
The new system PetroValues is establishing brings commodity owners and end consumers together, much like Amazon or Air BnB.
“We put it on an easy to use map so when we go talk to farmers and ranchers in La Grange or Chugwater or Weld County, I can pull up their properties and they see it in a different way,” he said. “Some of their grandparents homesteaded this ground but they’ve never really understood it from anything more than 6 inches below the surface.”
Kaiser said looking at two or three mineral rights offers on the kitchen table without the necessary data is like him walking into a bull sale and bidding, not knowing the cattle business.
“Buying bulls is not my profession,” he said. ‘Knowing what mineral rights are worth is not their profession.”
According to Kaiser, the majority of farms and ranches are unable to afford the data to understand the commodity they own far below the surface. He said it’s not only an inefficient system but one that ultimately costs more for the end consumer.
Reba Epler, a fifth generation Wyoming rancher who is also an attorney, said this system often costs the rancher a significant amount of revenue simply through a lack of knowing what the commodity is worth. Epler said mineral owners can be represented through the site now, something many attorneys are less equipped to do without the full data.
“It’s comparable to a sale barn,” she said. “Before there were sale barns, people drove around to ranchers and said, ‘I’ll pay you this much for your cattle, take it or leave it.’ That’s all the options they had, they didn’t really have a marketplace. Same thing for mineral rights.” ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 392-4410.