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New York landowners win right to renegotiate leases in Chesapeake settlement

Chesapeake has agreed to let more than 4,000 landowners in New York seek more favorable lease terms as part of a settlement with the state’s attorney general.

BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: June 14, 2012 at 12:00 am •  Published: June 15, 2012

“We look forward to the day when safe and responsible drilling will be allowed in New York and all residents can benefit from this valuable natural resource,” the company said. “When that occurs, New York will be able to compete for investment with other shale producing states and all residents will have the opportunity to benefit from this clean, abundant natural resource.”

Chesapeake has indicated it is not economical to develop New York’s natural gas resources under the state’s proposed regulations.

“Chesapeake is deeply concerned that the proposed requirements, if adopted in their present form, would effectively kill natural gas development from shale formations in New York state,” Michael G. Brownell, the company’s senior director of state environmental and regulatory affairs, wrote in a January letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Such concerns could limit the market for natural gas leases in New York, where state officials appear willing to allow hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells in only a handful of counties.

Landowners will be able to negotiate leases with other energy companies, but Chesapeake retains the right to match those terms.

The agreement covers leases that have expired or would have expired before Dec. 31, 2013.

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