Criminal charges filed against Chesapeake Energy in Michigan over alleged lease auction scheme

Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Delaware-based Encana Oil and Gas USA are facing criminal antitrust charges in Michigan. Authorities accused the energy companies of conspiring to divide up oil and gas leases in that state.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: March 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm •  Published: March 6, 2014

Encana issued a statement saying the company “denies and will vigorously defend the charges put forth by the Michigan attorney general’s office.”

“In 2012 Encana’s board undertook a comprehensive investigation into the allegations of collusion with competitors relating to land transactions in Michigan, and concluded that Encana did not engage in such conduct,” according to the Encana statement. “The independent investigation completed by Encana’s board, as well as all evidence provided by Encana to the Michigan attorney general, clearly show that no agreement was reached and no violation of antitrust law occurred. Such charges have no merit.”

Schuette charged Chesapeake Energy and Encana Oil and Gas USA with one count each of antitrust violations relating to a contract or conspiracy in restraint of commerce, which carries a fine of up to $1 million for a corporation.

He also charged each corporation with one count of attempted antitrust violations, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to a $1,000.

Representatives from both Chesapeake and Encana are scheduled to be arraigned on March 19 in a Cheboygan County court.

Chesapeake still faces a federal inquiry into its oil and gas lease purchasing practices by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The company is cooperating with the investigation and providing information to state and federal law enforcement, the company said in the filing.

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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