WHEELING – A limited liability partnership is seeking declaration from a court regarding who is the proper owner of oil and gas rights on a Wetzel County property.
Ridgetop Capital LP filed a complaint in Wetzel Circuit Court against Antero Resources Corp. seeking a judicial declaration.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that between Dec. 17, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2016, its predecessors granted a paid-up oil and gas lease to Chesapeake Appalachia as lessee covering the oil and gas interests in on the property with a primary term of seven years from Dec. 17, 2008, until Dec. 17, 2015. The Rowe lease further provided for an indefinite secondary term that would commence once lessee's operations in the search of oil began, the suit states.
Chesapeake assigned its interest to two successors, SWN Production and Statoil Onshore Properties. The suit states the Row lease expired but no consideration was received from Chesapeake or its successors for leasing the rights beyond the primary term. Both successors attempted to assign their interests in the expired Rowe lease to Antero Exchange Properties LLC. Antero Exchange Properties LLC, later on, merged into defendant Antero Resources Corp., the suit states.
The suit states Antero defected title to the Rowe lease and maintained that it does not have a marketable title to a leasehold interest. Notwithstanding this position, Antero refused to release the Rowe lease and stands that it owns the oil and gas leasehold interest, the suit states.
The plaintiff seeks a declaration that it is the owner of the oil and gas in and under the real estate and a declaration that claims asserted in the lawsuit are not arbitrable under the arbitration provision contained in the Rowe lease. Plaintiff also seeks all damages and costs allowed by the court. It is represented by Carl A. Frankovitch, M. Eric Frankovitch and Thomas Decapio of Frankovitch, Anetakis, Simon, Decapio & Pearl LLP in Weirton.
The case was originally filed in the Wetzel Circuit Court before it was removed by the defendant to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on May 23.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 5:18-cv-00092