Oil gaining attention in White Co., dozens searching for mineral - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Oil gaining attention in White Co., dozens searching for mineral rights

Those 'Landmen,' who are mostly independent contractors, spend the day browsing through oil and gas records dating back to the early 1900's. Those 'Landmen,' who are mostly independent contractors, spend the day browsing through oil and gas records dating back to the early 1900's.

There's an oil boom in White County, Illinois. Dozens of people are searching old county records for mineral rights.

Oil drilling has died down in the past couple decades, but county officials in Southern Illinois say now, their economy might be on an upswing.

There is the website for the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board.

Supporting research is one of their main goals listed, and county officials say research is exactly what up to 30 people each day visit the courthouse to work on.

"We do see more businesses, more business around here," said Fadil Jusufi, Owner of the Main St. Cafe.

Jusufi says the restaurant has been around for about 30 years, and in the recent past, he's seen more regular customers come through the doors.

"About t10, 15 people, they come in every day here, some for breakfast, some for lunch, some just get coffee," Jusufi said.

White County Clerk Paula Dozier tells us the increase in people frequenting local businesses is partly due to out-of-town researchers called 'landmen,' Searching records and signing leases for mineral rights, interested in horizontal drilling.

She says this is bringing in thousands of dollars to county government alone.

"I can tell you, one month, I billed over $21,000 in just Xerox copies," Dozier said.

The Illinois Petroleum Resource Board even has an ad on TV, educating people about the drilling process called 'fracking.'

Dozier tells us oil drilling flourished in the 70's and 80's and then took a downturn as oil prices fell.

She says now, the cost of oil is on the rise and business owners say they hope the local economy is, too.

"We don't know how far it's going to go but we hope, I mean, they find good sources," said Jusufi.

The County Clerk says more 'landmen' have been coming in to research for about a year and a half.

She tells us, recently, those researchers have been from states like Texas, Colorado, and Arkansas.

Copyright 2012 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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