Southwestern Energy Renewing Leases in WV, PA

Tick tock tick tock. Every day that passes brings landowners and drillers closer to the end of an initial five-year lease contract. In October 2014, Southwestern Energy purchased a humongous 413,000 acres of leases from Chesapeake Energy, most of that land in West Virginia (see Chesapeake Sells Close to 25% of Marcellus/Utica Operation). Southwestern paid over $5 billion for the deal. That leased acreage came with an expiration–which is happening now, at least for some (most?) of the acreage. Every lease is different. Some leases allow the driller to pay the same (or a different) renewal payment to keep the lease going for another period of time, typically another five years. The $5 billion question is, what will Southwestern do? Everyone is scaling back right now. Companies just can’t afford to do much drilling. Will Southwestern opt to renew those leases that they paid big bucks for? It seems we have an answer to that question. A WV newspaper is reporting that Southwestern has begun extending leases in Ohio and Marshall counties…

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