Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Don't Black Own Leases For Minerals on Public Lands?


By Norris McDonald

Blacks do not own the rights to minerals on public lands.  A critic might respond that blacks should bid on leases for mineral rights on public lands if they want to own those rights.  These leases provide access for energy companies to make profits from oil, gas, coal, uranium, wood, water, precious metals and other items.  Yet blacks are missing in action from this area.  Blacks should bid on some of the leases for mineral rights, both onshore and offshore.  And if black energy entrepreneurs do not have the resources to extract, process and distribute these resources, they should contract or partner with other firms to market these resources.

A Washington Post article ("New U.S. Forest Service plan retreats from ban on fracking in national forest in Virginia") today illustrates the lands that energy companies hold:

Oil and natural gas companies already lease about 10,000 acres within the George Washington National Forest and own the underground mineral rights for an additional 167,000 acres, according to the Forest Service.

The capital investment needed to develop such a well or wells probably exceeds most black entrepreneurs ability to meet.  Moreover, blacks have virtually no experience in developing such fracking wells.   The twin constraints of investment and experience probably prevent most blacks from getting into this lucrative field.

AAEA actively works to promote black entrepreneurs in entering this energy sector.  In fact, AAEA was prepared to bid on some offshore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago, but a potential financier backed out.

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