A company that is drilling for oil could be forced to extract natural gas, as well, on an Ohio property or lose those rights as part of a lawsuit that tests the requirements of a 37-year-old contract signed before fracking became commonplace.
The lawsuit, considered by the Ohio Supreme Court Sept. 26, turns on a 1980 contract that Linda Alford signed with Collins-McGregor Operating Co., allowing it to drill for oil on 74 acres of her property near Ohio’s West Virginia border.
The drilling company has continually extracted oil from the property as required by the contract, but Alford wants to force the company to dig deeper for natural gas—or allow her to sell those rights to another firm now that hydraulic fracturing is more practical and lucrative ( Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Co., Ohio, No. 2016-1281, oral argument 9/26/17 ).
Forcing Collins-McGregor to explore deep fracking would be the first such requirement in the nation and would be prohibitive to smaller companies only interested in oil, Brent Barnes of Geiger Teeple Robinson & McElwee PLLC, the attorney representing the company, said at the court hearing. He estimated fracking Alford’s property would cost between $8 million and $10 million.Click here to read more.
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