What if a company does not honor our lease?

If you have decided to lease your Ohio mineral rights to an oil and gas company, particularly one drilling in the Utica Shale region, you may be concerned about whether or not the company is operating within the terms of your lease. If they in any way violate your lease, whether they refuse to honor the royalty payment agreement or they infringe upon your property and rights in ways prohibited by the lease, what are your options to pursue justice?

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources considers this matter to be a private dispute, and does not generally provide state oversight for resolution of lease disputes beyond resources available in local city and state courts, should you choose to pursue litigation. Ideally prior to signing the lease, provisions would have been negotiated for action to take in the event that lessor or lessee should fall short of their obligations.

Barring mutual conversation and agreement or settlement, you may need to seek litigation to protect your rights from an oil and gas drilling company that is in breach of contract or violation of your lease. You may also have to recruit the expertise of qualified professionals with the knowledge necessary to understand if the activities on your property are in violation of your lease or of any state codes regarding drilling and well operation.

This has been an informational blog post intended for reference purposes only. Please do not use it as a substitute for the counsel of a qualified legal professional.