District Court Judge Tosses PA Landowner’s Lack-of-Drilling Case

court-gavel.jpgThis is the tale of landowners who negotiated a lease without consulting a qualified oil and gas attorney, and later regretted the decision. In 2008 the owners of a small hunting and fishing camp in Tioga County, PA negotiated and signed a lease with East Resources, which was later sold to SWEPI (i.e. the shale drilling arm of Shell). The lease, so the landowners thought, guaranteed that 11 wells would be drilled on the 240-acre property, and that a pipeline would be used to flow gas only from those wells. The landowners got a nice signing bonus–$287,000. They also got $164,000 for a pipeline right-of-way. But only one well was ever drilled–and it’s capped. And there is a pipeline–flowing other people’s gas through it. The landowners sued and a district court judge ruled last week that the landowners don’t have a case for their “shattered dreams” as they thought they did. It all comes down to a poorly worded lease and signing a lease without running it by a lawyer first…

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