Chesapeake Energy is facing another lawsuit over allegedly improper natural gas royalty payments. The lawsuit was filed by several Fort Worth investors and landowners in state court, alleging that Chesapeake improperly deducted costs from royalty payments.
The company has been sued several times previously by other leaseholders over the same issue. The most recent lawsuit also alleges that Chesapeake used sham transactions to its affiliates to lower the reported price for natural gas production, and did not pay royalties at all for some natural gas liquids.
The lawsuit claims that Chesapeake and co-defendant Total E&P USA used an accounting system that led to lower royalty payments, making sales to its affiliates to arrive at a lower reported price from which royalties would be calculated and conducting sham transactions as a way to impose post-production costs. The suit alleges that for some natural gas liquids, Chesapeake simply did not pay any royalties at all.
Natural gas liquids, which are separated from the gas after production, can command a higher price per unit of energy than dry gas.
Previous lawsuits against Chesapeake Energy over royalty payments were filed by a group of Tarrant County landowners and by the city of Arlington. According to news reports, similar cases have been brought against the company in at least six other states.