Hilcorp Energy was hired by Columbia Gas’ parent company NiSouce to drill Utica Shale wells in the Brinker Storage Field, a 35,000 acre area in Columbiana County, Ohio that Columbia has used to store natural gas going back more than 50 years. The original leases with landowners in the Brinker, leases passed down to new landowners over the decades, mean that landowners get zippo from any drilling—no lease payments and no royalties (see this MDN story for background).
Since the MDN story that first appeared in September, about 100 landowners have signed on to a lawsuit against Columbia and Hilcorp over the lease issue. But also since September, Columbia and Hilcorp have cut new leases with landowners not party to the lawsuit. We get the details of the lease terms from a story that talks about Hilcorp setting up a new office in Columbiana to work on land deals: