Here are two recent Ohio oil and gas cases we thought you may be interested in:
- Feisley Farms Family, L.P. v. Hess Ohio Resources, LLC (S.D. Ohio) – The Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted summary judgment in favor of Hess Ohio Resources, LLC in a case involving the validity of an oil and gas lease. The lessor alleged that the lease had lapsed because Hess failed to extend the primary term and make all required delay rental payments. Among other matters, the court found that where the lease allowed the lessee to delay development during the primary term by paying delay rentals, lease language authorizing the lessee to extend the lease for an additional five year term and providing that “said extension to be under the same terms and conditions contained in this lease” permitted the lessee to continue to pay delay rentals during the five year extension period. The court also found that under the terms of the particular lease, an untimely delay rental payment did not result in the lease’s forfeiture. [Disclosure – Vorys represented Hess in this matter].
- Reuschling v. Cart (11th Dist.) – Ohio’s Eleventh District Court of Appeals found in favor of an appellee landowner against a neighbor in a dispute over rights to free gas from a well on appellee’s land. The well was drilled when appellee and appellant’s lands were jointly owned by one Ms. Early. Ms. Early’s lands were covered by an oil and gas lease and contained a gas well—the Davis 1 Well. The lease allowed the lessor free gas for the principal dwelling on the property. Later, Ms. Early subdivided the property, conveying the well site to appellees, subject to a reservation of free gas rights for herself, and her children and grandchildren, and leaving herself with the remaining balance of the land, which included a dwelling. Ms. Early’s remaining lands eventually entered foreclosure and were sold at a sheriff’s auction to appellant. Appellant argued that she was entitled to receive free gas from the Davis 1 Well as she continued to own the “principal dwelling” for purposes of the lease. The court disagreed, finding that the reservation of free gas in appellee’s deed was limited to Ms. Early and her children and grandchildren, but not to appellant. Through the limitations in her reservation, Ms. Early expressed her intent that only a dwelling built on appellee’s land would serve as the “principal dwelling” for purposes of receiving free gas. Therefore, appellant was not entitled to receive free gas from the well.