Recent Important Ohio Oil and Gas Court Decisions

The legal beagles at the Vorys energy law firm have been keeping a close eye on court cases in Ohio that affect the oil and gas industry. Two of those cases caught our attention as being worthy of mention because they have the potential to affect Utica Shale rights owners, and conversely drillers, in the Buckeye State. In one case, a landowner thought she could terminate a lease by not picking up her mail and depositing royalty checks in the mail. Just ignore the mail and claim the driller wasn’t paying up. Oops. Nice try, but that didn’t fly in court. In another case, a landowner with an old oil & gas lease (dating back to the 1970s) tried to break the lease because the driller is happy as a clam to simply get gas out of conventional/vertical/shallow wells, and not go after (or allow someone else to go after) the deeper shale layers. The landowner tried to get the court to at least agree to free up the deeper layers so he could lease those–but no dice. The court found the existing lease is producing in “paying quantities” and under the terms of the lease, the landowner does not have the right to sever the lower layers from the upper layers. Here’s the details, with copies of the respective court decisions…

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