Chesapeake Transfers Majority of Leases in Columbiana County

Chesapeake Exploration has transferred nearly 90 percent of more than 9,000 leases in Columbiana County to a French company it has a joint venture with for Utica Shale development.
Total E&P, a U.S. subsidiary of Total S.A., received ownership in the leases. Chesapeake completed an agreement with Total S.A. on Dec. 30, 2011, that provided Total with 25 percent interest in Chesapeake’s leases in 10 Ohio counties. In some counties, Total received far less than 90 percent ownership.
Chesapeake will be the operator and will conduct all leasing, drilling, completing, operating and marketing activities for the project. The agreement provides that Total will acquire a 25 percent share of all additional acreage acquired by Chesapeake.
Craig Brown, Columbiana County recorder, believes Chesapeake could be attempting to reduce its liability in Columbiana County with a smaller ownership stake.
There have been at least 12 lawsuits involving Chesapeake filed in Columbiana County, according to court records.
“In other areas Chesapeake operates, the public is used to dealing with oil and gas. Seismic testing is no big deal in Texas or North Dakota, but it is to people here,” Brown said. “I think Chesapeake was tired of being sued in Columbiana County.”
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