Antero Resources v. Airport Land PartnersAnnotate this Case
This matter arose out of disputes between Antero Resources Corporation (“Antero”) and Airport Land Partners, Ltd (“Airport Land”) and other royalty owners (collectively, “Royalty Owners”) over whether Antero could deduct certain post-production costs from royalty payments under the applicable leases’ royalty clauses. Royalty Owners alleged that Antero has underpaid royalties in violation of their respective lease contracts. Royalty Owners filed individual breach-of-contract suits against Antero for dates between December 2016 and April 2017. Antero moved to dismiss the suits, arguing that the claims should have been brought before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC” or “the Commission”) in the first instance. Statutorily, COGCC lacked jurisdiction under section 34-60-118.5(5), C.R.S. (2022), to engage in contract interpretation to resolve a bona fide dispute between parties under an oil and gas lease. But in 2017, without any intervening change to explain the shift, two district courts changed course, asserting that COGCC had responsibility for resolving contract disputes on the theory either that the contract terms were unambiguous or that settled law compelled a certain interpretation. The Colorado Supreme Court returned to the longstanding statutory mandate that COGCC lacked jurisdiction to resolve bona fide disputes of contract interpretation and held that such a dispute exists where the parties disagree in good faith about the meaning or application of a relevant contract term.