ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Three brothers have filed a lawsuit against Oxford Oil Company accusing them of drilling a gas well through the Clinton Sands well formation just to stop the family from leasing their mineral rights.
According to the lawsuit filed in May in Belmont County, the three brothers, Todd E. Feichter, Terry L. Feichter and Michael C. Feichter and their spouses own 199 acres of hunting land that were leased to Oxford Oil Company in July 2006.
In the summer of 2011, the Oxford Oil Company approached the Feichters with a request to consolidate the Feichter lease with an adjacent property in order to increase the drilling unit.
The Feichters’ lease had called for a 160-acre pooling unit when they signed it. The request would enlarge the pooling area to 190 acres. According to documents, the permit had called for a 160-acre drilling unit.
The brothers refused to sign the agreement to expand the pooling unit. The request offered no compensation for changing the lease and the Feichters were aware of what was happening in the lease market last year so they had no desire to sign the document and extend the terms of their lease.
According to the lawsuit, Oxford Oil Company went ahead and secured a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a well planned on the adjacent property.
The permit was granted by ODNR.
Two days before the Feichter lease was set to expire, a drilling rig moved into the adjacent property. The Feichters contend Oxford Oil Company ignored their desire not be included in the bigger unit, and claim the oil company has drilled under their property.
As of now, the Feichters say that the drilled well was not and remains a non-functioning well. What the drillers did leave behind, according to the lawsuit, is what the Feichters consider a “disaster area.”
According to court documents, the company did not secure the area with silt fence to stop erosion, and left open brine pits on the property.
The documents state that the controversy is over whether or not the lease is still valid on the property since the well is not producing gas or oil.
The Feichters are asking for damages in excess of $25,000 as a result of Oxford’s ongoing alleged trespassing on the Feichters’ property. They are also seeking punitive damages.
A court date has not been set yet in this case.