OH Court: Developing Shallow Wells Enough to Hold Utica Layer

An important Ohio Appellate Court case was recently decided in Ohio relating to Utica Shale lease rights. The case is called Marshall v Beekay Company. Beekay Company had drilled shallow, non-shale wells on the property of Gary and Cora Marshall. At some point along the way, Beekay had separated the deeper mineral rights (shale) from the shallower mineral rights. The landowners said because Beekay didn’t develop the deeper mineral rights by drilling in the deeper layers, they had broken the original contract. The upshot was the landowners hoped to lease the lower layer to someone who would develop it. But the court found that development and continuous extraction of gas from the shallow layer effectively holds the rights to the deeper layer. That is, the court shot down the request by the landowners to force development of the shale layer…

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