February 6, 2013

Energy companies descend on county office, towns

County clerk says office has seen influx of business, revenue

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star

GRADY COUNTY — The Grady County Clerk's office has seen a massive increase in activity over the last year according to County Clerk Sharon Shoemake.

"Our office has been quite busy going on two years with oil and gas activity," she said. "We have around 30 to 40 land people daily in our main land records and then we have land records in an area in the basement of the courthouse that is smaller, but we have had five to 10 land people checking records in that area."

The announcement of the SCOOP has only strengthened the business flow in the county clerk's office.

Shoemake said, since Continental Resources placed a presence in Grady County, a multitude of energy companies have requested a historical information on the ownership of land in Grady County called tract indexes.

"We have six sets of tract indexes," Shoemake said. "That means each tract index book has a township and range with 36 sections in each. We get anywhere from one to 16 requests almost daily. The tract indexes begin at Statehood, which was 1907 (and stretch to) present day, so they contain  lot of information."

At the moment, areas in and around the towns of Alex, Bradley, Cox City and Rush Springs have seen the most requests for information, and not only for energy companies.

"There has and is a lot of pipeline activity going on in our County so it is not only oil and gas," Shoemake said.

All of this interest has translated into an impressive amount of profits for the county. Shoemake said for the calendar year of 2012, her office generated $82,995 of revenue from electronic and print copies.

That money goes to the restoration of books and other operating functions that are used in the clerk's office.

"Our records are being used a lot and it does affect the wear on them, but this is excellent for our County and the revenue does and will help when we have to begin to restore the books," she said. "At this time, there is a so much activity and so many land people in our office that we can't begin or even try to restore because the records are being used."

Shoemake said the oil and gas companies check the county's records for many reasons pertaining to the purchase or lease of minerals and with the advent of the SCOOP, she doesn't expect this busy trend to stop.