From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
…Chesapeake Energy moved into Ohio County [West Virginia] through a quiet 2010 land swap with Range Resources — unknown even to the landowners whose property rights changed hands.
Analysts on Wall Street and dairy farmers in this area now see the same thing: One powerful firm suddenly overtook the leases, and the rules of the game immediately changed…
More information on land swaps, flipping, unitization, longer leases more favorable to drillers, and expanded use of force majeure, newly covering things like State College’s Environmental Bill of Rights and Natural Gas Drilling Ban:
“Chesapeake has used an expanded definition of the “force majeure” clause — typically used in contracts to denote unforeseeable, catastrophic events that hinder production — to extend lease terms, sometimes indefinitely, for new reasons that go far beyond the “acts of god” traditionally included in such clauses. Now, restrictive local regulations or a lack of transportation equipment may be grounds for a “held lease” — one that the company continues to operate under past its expiration date…”