- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he’s filed criminal charges Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp. for colluding to avoid bidding against each other for Michigan oil and gas leases.

Schuette said Wednesday that the antitrust violations happened in 2010, when Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake and Calgary, Alberta-based Encana bought natural gas leases in Michigan.

He says collusion is suspected of depressing the per-acre cost of leases from $1,510 in May 2010 to under $40 in October 2010.

Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer tells The Associated Press the company is disappointed at the charges. He says the company probed the allegations and found no evidence of antitrust violations by it and Encana.

Encana spokesman Jay Averill says his company’s investigation concluded there was no collusion and says it will fight the charges.

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