OH Supreme Court to Hear Appeal re Driller Who Won’t Explore Utica

What if a landowner leased his or her land decades ago and a driller drilled a conventional natural gas well on the property, and that well has produced commercial volumes of natural gas for years–and still does. And what if the lease gives that driller the right to drill (or not drill) in any given rock lawyer. And what if that driller is content to simply let that conventional well keep producing and not drill further down, into the now commercially viable Utica (or Marcellus) shale layer? Does the landowner, whose land is located where the Utica/Marcellus exists, have any case for taking back the rights to the deeper shale layers the conventional driller refuses to go after? That’s a case that has now worked its way all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. The question turns on whether or not “reasonable development” in a lease includes unexplored, deep formations…

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