After graduating from Columbia University in 1947 and the University of Texas Law School in 1950 Edwin T. Stitt hung out his shingle in Midland, TX and began a law practice. He was elected and became the youngest Circuit Court Judge in Texas. With a taste of the oil and gas business Ed headed north to the Calgary Oilfields where he worked for Barron Kidd as a land manager. In this time, Ed was directly involved with the successful negotiation of the first oil and gas lease made by the state of New Jersey working with members of the Governors Cabinet and the Attorney Generals Office. Ed moved to Pittsburgh, PA and began working as an independent landman in 1959. He worked for several major oil companies, researching and leasing throughout the eastern US and Gulf Coast. He was retained as legal council and Vice President of Land for an independent exploration company in Pittsburgh. In 1970 Ed founded Royal Resources Corporation and relocated to Fairmont, WV with his bride and infant son Edwin T. Stitt III. His second son, John Paul Stitt, current President of Royal Resources, completed the family in 1972.
Royal Resources began acquiring leases for its own accounts at this point, developing interests in areas determined through evaluations and relationships with Wilbur Yeager, a friend and geologist. Many of these leases were sold to exploration and development companies. During the next years, Ed and Royal Resources leased in excess of 250,000 acres. Normally, Royal Resources would retain an override or participate in the development of these leases. It was during this time that Ed began to train and mentor other landmen. He became and continued to be actively involved in the AAPL, serving as Director for a period of 9 years between 1973 and 1990 and serving as its Teasurer. In 1976 Ed was recognized by the AAPL for his efforts with a special award for his outstanding contribution to the industry through direct contact with federal government officials and for his devotion of time and funds to inform the public of energy affairs. He also held additional positions with the AAPL and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, serving as its Director for three separate terms. He was actively involved in associations on the state level as well.
In 1975 Royal Resources entered a new phase, drilling its first discovery well in the Rollyson Field in Braxton County, WV after acquiring leases on approximately 20,000 acres. Over the years, Royal developed the Rollyson field, drilling 20 additional wells. During this period, Ed continued to work for numerous clients, researching mineral title and negotiating leases on their behalf. The company continued to grow and to engage the services of additional landmen and would often have several large teams working in different areas.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Royal primarily engaged in the acquisition of oil and gas leases in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York , Texas and Ohio for its clients and its own accounts. Many of the landmen whom Ed mentored have moved on to start or work for successful companies that are in operation to this day. By maintaining ongoing relationships with it clients and business partners, Royal Resources has been able to adapt its practices to meet the needs of an ever changing industry and address issues relating to public scrutiny.
Embracing technological advances, which was necessary to better meet the needs of clients, Ed brought his youngest son, John Paul Stitt, into the family business. Making the transition from the days of typing leases on a manual typewriter, in living rooms or on fence posts and handwriting flow charts on butcher paper and legal pads, to computer spreadsheets and files proved to be a challenge not only for Ed and Royal Resources but throughout the industry. John spearheaded these efforts at Royal Resources and was named its President in 1998. As John’s family grew and following the death of his mother John relocated the business to Martinsburg, WV. During this period, Ed continued to be actively involved on a daily basis and engaged in international efforts to acquire leases and create new joint ventures and opportunities. He successfully led negotiations leading to the acquisition of leases in the Philippines and with the government of China. Sadly, Ed passed away in November of 2010.
Today, Royal Resources strives to provide a level of service to its client’s superior to that of its competitors. With the discoveries of new shale plays, literally in its own backyard, Royal Resources has found itself uniquely positioned to meet the new challenges and opportunities presented. Many of the areas now seeing great demand and activity are areas in which Royal Resources has extensive experience and long term relationships. Our goal is to exceed the expectations of each and every client through hard work, attention to detail and integrity. By successfully doing just what Ed did throughout his career, the future is bright for Royal Resources.