More Royalty Theft by PA DCNR – Streambeds Leased for $497K

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is grabbing more money that we think belongs to private landowners. This time from leasing land underneath the Youghiogheny River and Little Pine Creek. DCNR has leased 124.2 acres for a signing bonus of $496,800 (or $4,000 per acre). Plus the state’s customary royalty rate of 20% on anything produced. And no, the state does not allow post-production deductions–they get their full 20% royalty.
Continue reading

Fed Judge Reverses Class Action in PA Landowner Lawsuit v. Shell

A notable development in a lawsuit that before now, we were unaware of. Several landowners in Venango County (northwest PA) filed a lawsuit against Shell’s SWEPI drilling subsidiary in 2013 claiming SWEPI had stiffed them out of lease bonus payments due under duly signed lease contracts. The landowners attempted to turn the lawsuit into a class action, claiming the same thing had happened for about 300 leases in the area. A federal judge has just ruled against converting the lawsuit into a class action.
Continue reading

PA Commonwealth Court Keeps Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit Alive

In December 2017, a Bradford County, PA judge turned down Chesapeake Energy’s attempt to wiggle out of a royalty lawsuit on a technicality (see Bradford County, PA Judge Keeps Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit Alive). However, the judge punted the case to a higher court, Commonwealth Court, to settle what he calls “novel questions of law”–rather than spending more time and money on such issues at the county court level. On Friday Commonwealth Court ruled…
Continue reading

PA Floats Bill to Allow Shale Drilling to Span Multiple Units

Some Pennsylvania landowners have recently been approached by the companies they’re leased with, asking landowners to sign amended leases to allow cross-unit drilling. We personally know of one case in which a driller requested such an amendment in northeast PA. So it is with great interest we notice a new bill has been introduced in the PA House, specifically to allow cross-unit shale drilling.
Continue reading

Fed Court Says WV Driller Doesn’t Have to Produce Gas to Keep Lease

We spotted a write-up on a recent court decision coming from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in which a West Virginia landowner had a signed Marcellus lease requiring PetroEdge (later Statoil) to drill three wells on or under their property. And yet the courts have sided with the driller, essentially allowing the driller to wiggle out of the terms of the lease.
Continue reading

EQT Settles WV Class Action Royalty Lawsuit for $53.5M

In 2013 some 10,000 West Virginia landowners/rights owners filed a class action lawsuit against EQT over their practice of post-production deductions from royalty checks. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial last November, but at the last minute, it didn’t. Word leaked that EQT had settled out of court (see EQT Avoids Trial, Settles WV Class Action re Royalty Deductions). Since that time we haven’t heard a peep–until this morning when EQT announced the terms of a “tentative” settlement.
Continue reading

“Rule of Capture” Briefs Filed w/PA Supreme Court in Briggs Case

In November the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Briggs v. Southwestern Energy, that is hands-down the most important court case to ever happen regarding the Marcellus Shale in PA. And no, we’re not exaggerating. A blizzard of briefs by Southwestern and those supporting Southwestern were filed earlier this week.
Continue reading

Columbia Sues Southwestern Energy for Shorting Royalties in WV

Here’s an interesting twist on the theme of drillers shorting leaseholders out of royalty money. Usually such cases involve drillers claiming post-production deductions from landowner royalty checks. This time the landowner/rightsholder is Columbia Gas Transmission (pipeline company owned by midstream giant TransCanada), and the claim is that Southwestern Energy (driller) is not paying royalties for gas produced but not actually sold.
Continue reading

PA AG Will Continue Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit in Bradford Co.

PA AG Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania’s Democrat Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, held a public meeting last night in Towanda (Bradford County), PA to talk about the state’s now three-year-old lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, a lawsuit alleging the company has shafted landowners out of gas royalty money.
Continue reading

Fed Court Allows PA Royalty Lawsuit Against Chesapeake to Proceed

Coincidentally on the topic of royalty lawsuits (see today’s companion story, PA AG Will Continue Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit in Bradford Co.), MDN came across a story (and a lawsuit) we previously had not heard about. An important case brought by landowners in Wyoming County, PA.
Continue reading

Peregrine Energy Buys Royalty Rights in Greene County, PA

There are companies that will purchase landowners’ (rights owners) royalty payments–giving them a lump sum payment up front in return for signing over all future royalty payments to the company buying the rights. Peregrine Energy Partners is one such company and has just purchased an unspecified amount of royalty payments in Greene County, PA.
Continue reading

Big Crowd Turns Out to Support/Oppose Drilling Under SWPA Park

The mystery is now solved. Last week we incorrectly (based on a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article) reported that FirstEnergy wants to drill a well under (not on) Linbrook Park, located in the Borough of Franklin Park in Allegheny County (see original story here). It’s not FirstEnergy but PennEnergy that wants to do the drilling.
Continue reading

PA Leases Youghiogheny River Land in SWPA to Chevron $4K/Ac

Youghiogheny River (credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), every now and again, will lease state-owned land for gas drilling. The DCNR has just leased land under the Youghiogheny River in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. We have the full lease, and lease terms, below…
Continue reading

PennEnergy Offers $3.5K/Ac to Drill Under SWPA Town Park

NOTE: This story and the headline have been updated to correct an earlier error from the source we used. It is not FirstEnergy but PennEnergy that is proposing to drill under the park.

We spotted a second story today about a new lease, in this case proposed lease terms, for land in southwestern Pennsylvania. This time the driller, PennEnergy, wants to drill under (not on) a town park that sits on the border of Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Continue reading