CADIZ, Ohio — A 1959 lease is at the root of a lawsuit in Harrison County against Chesapeake Exploration.
A decision was handed down Jan. 17 between The Jewett Sportsmen and Farmers Club Inc. versus Chesapeake Exploration, LLC.
The ground was originally leased by the North American Coal Company in 1959. Chesapeake acquired the lease from them.
Chesapeake has already poured two drilling pads and planned to drill up to eight wellbores from each drill pad. Jewett Sportsmen and Farmers Club Inc. was asking the court to stop Chesapeake from drilling.
Harrison County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael K. Nunner ruled the lease from 1959 was still in effect but that Chesapeake could only drill down and that horizontal drilling was not covered in the original lease. He said drilling horizontally on the property for the purpose of extracting gas was not covered.
He said the language used in the original lease did not allow for the property to be used to access gas, oil and other minerals on neighboring properties. It only allowed for the land to be used to get the minerals from that property.
The judge said, in the decision, that Chesapeake could not use the surface and drill horizontally to neighboring properties based on the lease. He said permission was needed from the sportsmen club in order to drill horizontally.
Atty. Gregory D. Brunton, of Columbus, represented the Jewett Sportsmen and Farmers Club in the court case. He said the group had expressed an interest in negotiating the matter before it went to court but efforts failed.
Chesapeake Exploration did not have any comment on the decision.
The case is expected to continue in the court system either through appeals or through mediation.