Henry v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, No. 12-4090 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In 2006, Plaintiffs entered into a five-year oil and gas lease covering 47 acres in Ross Township, Ohio, and granting Chesapeake exclusive rights to “all oil and gas and their constituents” for $5.00 per mineral acre per year and a royalty on production. The lease provides for extension, if “Operations” are being “conducted on the Leasehold, or on lands pooled, unitized or combined with all or a portion of the Leasehold.” In 2011, Chesapeake submitted drilling-permit applications for property that did not include Plaintiffs’ property. Later, Chesapeake filed a “Declaration and Notice of Pooled Unit,” consisting of 21 properties, including Plaintiffs’ property, and declared that “operations and/or production … anywhere within the Unit shall be deemed to be operations and/or production on each separate tract sufficient to extend and maintain each included lease in the Unit.” It specified that production from the unit would be allocated among all leases in the unit proportional to the surface area of each lease. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that the lease expired; Chesapeake filed a counterclaim. The district court ruled in favor of Plaintiffs, concluding that Chesapeake’s actions did not extend the lease because the lease required that a permit application pertaining to the leased property or a property already unitized with the leased property, be filed before the expiration of the lease. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded.