Columbiana Landowners Win Right to Renegotiate Some Lease Terms

In 2008, before the word “Utica Shale” was on people’s lips and in their consciousness, landmen from Patriot Energy Partners “smiled and dialed” calling up landowners in Columbiana County, offering them a whopping $10 (yes 10 bucks) an acre to sign gas and oil exploration leases. Patriot mailed them the contracts, the landowners signed and sent them back, and then got pennies on the dollar for what those leases were actually worth. Patriot then flipped the leases, selling the deep exploration rights to Chesapeake Energy–for $1,100 an acre. Patriot claimed the practice (of hoodwinking landowners and flipping leases) is legal. The landowners wised up and in 2011, 25 landowner families sued to have their leases dissolved. Four years later the case, after going to arbitration, is resolved…

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