Belmont County Residents Suing Oil Company

From Kristy Foster at Farm & Dairy:
A group of Belmont County landowners claim Oxford Oil Company may be over-stretching a clause in their gas leases to extend the term of the leases without production, according to a lawsuit filed in Belmont County.

The situation

Fourteen Belmont County landowners have filed a lawsuit against Oxford Oil Company in Zanesville that is using a force majeure clause in a 2006 oil and gas lease to keep the leases in effect. 
The leases have expired, but the landowners cannot sign another lease because Oxford Oil Company, the company that signed them in 2006, won’t let the leases expire and says the leases are held by a force majeure clause. 
The company claims the clause basically lets the lease be extended because the oil and gas company was prohibited from drilling because of a coal company’s actions. 
According to force majeure is a term that generally refers to an unavoidable force or power that affects someone’s ability to do something. It’s typically included in contracts to remove liability for natural or other events that prevent participants from fulfilling obligations. The term can also apply if government somehow interferes or stops Oxford Oil Company from production.
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