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Ohio Utica Shale

Chesapeake drops legal battle over extending New York leases

By Bob Downing Published: September 9, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Chesapeake Energy has dropped its two-year legal battle to force an extension of 200 expired gas-drilling leases covering 13,000 acres in southern New York, the law firm representing the landowners said Monday.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake had argued that it had the right to extend the leases beyond the five-year expiration date because the state's moratorium on horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has prevented it from drilling since 2008. U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd ruled in the landowners' favor in November, but Chesapeake had appealed.

Chesapeake's agreement to release the leases preserves the precedent set when Hurd ruled that the state's moratorium wasn't grounds to force an extension because it only precludes one type of drilling -- using advanced technology of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing to access gas trapped in shale deposits, Cindy Manchester, lawyer for the landowners in Broome and Tioga counties along the Pennsylvania border, said Monday.

Chesapeake's action allows the landowners to seek better lease deals with other energy companies, or to keep drilling off their land. The leases were signed at $2-$3 an acre and 12.5 percent royalties before the shale gas boom took off in 2007 across the border in Pennsylvania and boosted land prices to thousands of dollars an acre with royalties of up to 20 percent on production.

Members of landowner coalitions in southern New York have grown increasingly frustrated as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has continued the moratorium on the technology that has brought areas in other states new jobs and economic growth and flooded the market with low-cost natural gas. Cuomo has said the state's health and environmental agencies are still working to determine if the gas well technology commonly referred to as fracking can be done without harming human health or the environment.

New York sits atop the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, which also runs underneath parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Chesapeake did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.