CHARLESTON -- A major oil and gas company is suing a Kanawha County woman, saying she's illegally blocking access to a well road.
Chesapeake Appalachia wants a Kanawha Circuit Court judge to order Michelle Wilson to let them use the road leading to the well.
According to Chesapeake's complaint, filed Feb. 17, the well was drilled under a lease agreement with Philip K. Harness in 1938. Under that lease, Chesapeake says it's entitled to use the access road.
The complaint says the company and its predecessors have always had access to the well using the road.
But now, Wilson, who is the current owner of the land in question, has "improperly and unlawfully" blocked the road with a mobile home and other debris piled in the way, the complaint says.
The company alleges that "despite repeated requests to clear the road, (Wilson) had wrongfully refused to do so and has refused all attempts at communication."
Chesapeake says that normally, its well tenders can walk to the well from a public road nearby. But now crews have to get in there with a truck hauling equipment that will enable them to swab and clean the well.
From here on out, crews will have to access the well on a monthly basis with a truck, the complaint says. And measurement personnel will have to get back to the well with a truck hauling specialized equipment for regular tests of the well.
Chesapeake maintains that the lease and state law gives it "the absolute right to enter the surface estate to use and upgrade roads in furtherance of its oil and gas rights."
The company, represented by Matthew Casto, is asking Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom for an injunction against Wilson and to order her to pay for legal fees and any other damages caused by the delay in access to the well.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-261