Gas and Cash The gas lies in what is called the Marcellus Shale Formation, a 600-mile sheet of sedimentary rock (see sidebar). Until recently, extraction wasn't cost effective, but advances in technology and higher gas prices have made it lucrative. Extremely lucrative. Gas companies have been offering landowners as much as $2,500 an acre just for lease rights; royalties are paid on top of that, and sums can be huge. Suddenly a small farmer or modest hunting club might be looking at a million-dollar windfall. The states are also leasing public hunting land, licking their chops at the prospect of an industry that could fill coffers and balance budgets for decades.