Federal Court Clarifies Ohio Law for Calculating Gas Royalties

A month ago MDN brought you the news that the U.S. District Court in Akron, OH had made a major ruling that affects all Utica landowners and drillers (see Federal Court Says Chesapeake Royalty Deductions Allowed in Ohio). The case, known as Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, is about whether or not drillers (Chesapeake in this case) are allowed to deduct certain post-production costs from landowner royalty checks. The Ohio Supremes were asked to decide whether Ohio follows the “at the well” rule, which permits the deduction of post-production costs, or if the state follows the “marketable product” rule, which limits the deduction of post-production costs under certain circumstances. The Supremes refused to tackle the ultimate issue, which is: What does “at the well” really mean? How is it defined? Instead, the Supremes bounced the issue back to the U.S. District Court in Akron for further clarification. The federal court defined what is meant by “at the well.” The court’s decision means that Chesapeake Energy (and by extension other drillers) CAN deduct post-production expenses from landowner royalty checks–at least in certain instances. We spotted an explanation of the case and the decision by the Akron court from our friends at powerhouse energy law firm BakerHostetler. They do a great job putting the ruling in language we laypeople can understand…

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