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Agreement reached over well site

August 6, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

LISBON - An agreement has been reached allowing Chesapeake Exploration to develop a well site on a dairy farm that straddles Columbiana and Carroll counties, but the company is prohibited from doing any drilling until the lawsuit is resolved.

The agreement was reached in response to a request for a preliminary injunction sought by Roger, Carolyn, James and Bruce Starkey as part of their lawsuit against Patriot Energy Partners of Lisbon, PEP Leasing of Lisbon, Andrew and Thomas Blocksom of Lisbon and Robert Dickey of Lisbon.

The lawsuit filed in June in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court alleges the defendants are all involved in some manner with Patriot Energy and/or helped secure mineral rights leases from the Starkeys on behalf of Patriot Energy. Also named as defendants were Chesapeake and several other energy companies that may have an interest in the lease.

The Starkey farm is located near Mechanicstown, and they alleged Patriot Energy and its representatives engaged in questionable business practices to obtain the lease for only a fraction of what they were really worth and then sold the leases to other companies for significantly more money.

The Starkeys were seeking an injunction to prevent the Blocksoms and Dickey from notarizing and assigning any more leases in which they have an interest and that the lease agreement with Patriot Energy should be voided. More than $1 million in damages is being sought.

The judge met with the attorneys on June 29, and they came up with the agreement that allowed Chesapeake to proceed with developing the well site and pad, but the company was prohibited from drilling pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

As part of the permanent injunction, Chesapeake will build a road to allow the Starkeys' farm equipment to get around the drilling pad.

The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 5.

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