Oil and Gas Overview

Ohio Oil and Gas Attorney

There are only a few experienced attorneys who represent landowners and mineral owners exclusively. Beware. Many firms say they will represent landowners, but they are actively representing the oil and gas industry. Fields, Dehmlow & Vessels represents only landowners – never the other side.

We regularly file and win lawsuits on behalf of landowners throughout Ohio and the Utica and Marcellus shale region. The law in Ohio is constantly changing, and attorney Ethan Vessels has been a driving force in moving the law in favor of landowners. He has litigated and won the following cases on appeal:

  • Filicky v. American Energy-Utica, LLC, Case No. 15-4061 (U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Cir. 2016) – releasing 168 acres in Belmont County from a lease in which the lessee wrongfully claimed was held by the operations and unitization clauses of the base lease.
  • Derosa, et al. v. Hess Ohio Resources, LLC, Case 2:13-cv-0472 and Curtis v. Hess Ohio Resources, LLC, Case No. 2:13-cv-0453 (U.S. District Court for Southern District of Ohio 2014) – releasing over 400 acres in Belmont County from the lease. The court found that the lessee had not taken reasonable measures to continue development of the leased properties in violation of its implied covenant to develop the property.
  • Lang v. Weiss Drilling, Case No. 15 MO 005 (Ohio 7th Dist. 2016) – releasing a 30-acre tract in Monroe County which had been wrongfully held based on the operator’s false claims of “profitable production.” Court also definitively held for the first time that commingled production from multiple non-unitized leaseholds cannot form the basis of “profitable production” absent any way to measure production from the leased premises.
  • Wilson v. Beck Energy Corp., Case No. 15 MO 0010 (Ohio 7th Dist. 2016) – releasing a 40-acre tract which the lessee wrongfully claimed was held under a “delay rental” clause which had expired.
  • Holland v. Gas Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 15 CA 42 (Ohio 4th Dist. 2016) – releasing a lease in which the lessee had wrongfully claimed “profitable production” despite several years of cessation of production.
  • Schultheiss v. Heinrich Enterprises, Case No. 15 CA 20 (Ohio 4th Dist. 2016) – releasing a lease due to the cessation of production in the 1980’s. Fourth District held that the doctrines of “laches” and “estoppel” did not bar the landowner’s assertion that the lease had expired. (This will be argued in the Ohio Supreme Court on May 2, 2017.)
  • Love v. Beck Energy Corp., Case No. 14 NO 415 (Ohio 7th Dist. 2015) – voiding the assignment of the landowner’s lease due to the clear “anti-assignment” provision in the landowner’s lease. Also holding that the requirement to provide a “notice of breach” was an act of futility which did not bar the lawsuit.
  • Lauer v. Layco Enterprises, Case No. 12 CA 40 (Ohio 4th Dist. 2013) – releasing a lease which was held by lessee’s wrongful claims of “profitable production.”

Experienced Ohio Oil and Gas Lawyer

Ethan Vessels was recognized in the 2018 Thomson Reuters SuperLawyers publication, one of only four attorneys in Ohio recognized for Energy and Natural Resources law. Ethan argued twice in 2017 before the Ohio Supreme Court on oil and gas issues on behalf of landowners.

Since 2011, the firm’s litigation efforts have yielded over $15 million in lease bonuses to landowners and millions of increased royalty revenues. Ethan Vessels has also written a book, “Oil & Gas Leasing. What landowners need to know.”

The firm regularly advises and advocates for landowners and mineral owners on the following:

  • Royalty disputes (underpaid royalties)
  • Lease termination due to unprofitable production
  • Lease termination disputes involving “savings clauses” such as delay rental clauses, drilling operations clauses, force majeure clauses, “sham” operations to extend the lease, and “shut in” clauses
  • Lease negotiations
  • Amendment and ratification negotiations
  • Sale of mineral rights
  • Title searching and examination

If you have an oil and gas question or need representation in an oil and gas dispute, please call us at 740-374-5346 or fill out a contact form. We offer free initial consultations and, in most cases, we offer contingent fees. If there is no recovery, there is no fee.