- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - Chesapeake Energy is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit that alleges it took oil and gas from a property without a lease agreement with the owners.

Six nonprofit groups in Wheeling sued the company in U.S. District Court in Wheeling on May 1. The lawsuit said Chesapeake incorporated 224 acres jointly owned by the groups in Ohio County in two pooled drilling units it formed without leasing the property, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register (https://bit.ly/1MBsJ4J) reported.

The lawsuit also alleges that Chesapeake trespassed by taking oil and gas from the property without a lease, and that the company has cost the plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of lost revenue

Chesapeake’s lawyers said in a response to the lawsuit that the plaintiffs can’t prove any of the allegations.

“Notably, the plaintiffs did not and cannot plead that there is a well on or below the property. The complaint simply pleads that oil and gas have been produced from the units in which the property was included, but not from the actual property itself,” Chesapeake’s lawyers, Nicolle Snyder Bagnell and Kevin Abbott Bagnell, said in the company’s response.

Chesapeake pooled together 27 separate leases in the Oglebay Park area to create the Timmy Minch drilling pad. The majority of this acreage is in the name of the Wheeling Park Commission and the City of Wheeling, which each signed contracts to allow the drilling on the Oglebay property in late 2009.

Plaintiffs include the Parks System Trust Fund of Wheeling, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Children’s Home of Wheeling and the YWCA. Each organization holds an ownership interest in the property, which Annie M. Jacob bequeathed to them in 1957, according to court documents.

Chesapeake sold its operations in West Virginia to Southwestern Energy Co. late last year. Southwester spokeswoman Susan Richardson told the newspaper that the company is not responsible for anything that happened prior to the transaction.


Information from: The Intelligencer, https://www.theintelligencer.net

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