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Friday, January 5, 2018

Chesapeake Offers to Settle Dispute with Landowners, With Conditions

From The Inquirer:
Chesapeake Energy Corp. has agreed to pay Pennsylvania landowners $30 million to settle federal lawsuits over its disputed gas-royalty payments. But the deal hinges on state Attorney General Josh Shapiro also resolving a lawsuit against the shale-gas producer.

Chesapeake’s lawyers told a federal judge in Scranton last week that they had reached a deal to settle several longstanding class-action suits, according to a transcript of the status meeting. The settlement would provide payments to all 14,000 Chesapeake gas leaseholders, and the landowners would also be allowed to “reset” their leases to clarify the terms under which they are paid royalties, or their share of gas sales. 
But the Oklahoma City gas producer said it won’t go forward with the deal unless it also resolves a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania in 2015 by former state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane that alleged Chesapeake cheated landowners by making large deductions from their royalty payments. 
“We want global peace,” said Daniel T. Donovan, a Chesapeake lawyer with the firm Kirkland & Ellis in Washington. “We want to move forward for a better relationship, different relationships with the lessors, but we need global peace.” 
Representatives of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office told U.S. District Judge Malachy E. Mannion that it and Chesapeake are still far apart in negotiations to settle the state’s suit over unfair trade practices, which also names Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
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