O&G Countersues Landowners Claiming Lease Slander

In late March, seven Beaver County, PA families (18 people) filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court accusing O&G Investments of Wooster, Ohio of not drilling on their land—and not paying them—for the past seven years. The leases were sold to Chesapeake Energy and at the eleventh hour, just before the leases were set to expire, Chesapeake attempted to initiate drilling to retain the leases, which prompted the lawsuit (see this MDN story for background). Late last week O&G countersued the families:

An Ohio oil and gas exploration company has countersued 18 western Pennsylvania landowners in a dispute over leases.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that O&G Investment Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Petro Evaluation Services Inc. of Wooster, Ohio, filed the countersuit Thursday against the Beaver County landowners.

The landowners claim that O&G deceived them into signing leases that Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City now holds.

In the lawsuit O&G Investment Holdings makes a counterclaim that the landowners are breaching the contracts they signed and have "slandered" the leases, causing the company to lose revenues because the properties don’t have producing wells on them.*

Takes a lot of chutzpah to not drill for nearly seven years, not pay anything, and then turn around and countersue that you’ve been slandered and blame the landowners for not having producing wells!

*Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (May 11, 2012) – Gas drilling company countersues W. Pa. landowners