Lease Termination


Joe Heath, Esq., Ellen Harrison, Fleased

Video of Leasing Workshop Mar. 19, 2013 in Norwich



  • Letter to gas companies claiming Force Majeure as a reason to arbitrarily extend gas leases.  Word doc.

  • Why Force Majeure claims are invalid  Word doc

  • We’ve received requests for more information about the ramifications of the November 15th US District Court ruling that force majeure does not extend leases. We encourage you to work with experienced oil and gas lease attorneys to interpret your specific lease terms and determine whether this ruling affects you.  This is what we’ve learned so far from the experts:

  • Many leases have a 5-year primary term with a clause allowing the gas company to extend the lease for another 5 years by simply tendering (writing) a check before the first term expires.  The renewal language is usually quite limited and the gas company must “tender payment before the primary terms ends.” Some companies sent landholders (lessors) force majeure letters claiming that the lease was extended but did not send checks to extend the lease.  Even with an auto extension clause, if the company has not mailed the extension check within the primary term, that lease has now expired.  The companies might claim otherwise, but they would be wrong.  They can’t make up an invalid legal theory, like force majeure, and rely on that to extend their leases.   Such a claim will not hold up in court.

  • A land owner whose lease has expired should thus proceed to follow General Obligations law 15-304 to clear their title for their expired lease.  Information on how to make such a filing can be found at:

More Information:

Termination/Expiration/Surrender of Gas Leases in New York State

Termination/Expiration/Surrender of Gas Leases in New York


Lease Termination Packet for Rural Landowners!

Do you have a gas lease on your property?

Will it be expiring soon (2011 or 2012)?

If so, the attached packet has some very important information for you!



Other Advice on lease termation

How to Terminate a Gas Land Lease in New York State |

Fleased Fleased is providing a voice for landholders who leased mineral rights before Marcellus shale gas exploitation was known to threaten our land, air, water and communities.  To learn more or join us, contact us at

Mr. Kutney’s personal appeal to join him in a class-action suit after Chesapeake extended his lease against his will:

Comment: This  is a very educational link, even though Mr. Kutney says all he wants is a new lease with better prices.   It exposes the widespread abuse of the invocation of the force majeure argument, with links to private firms looking for clients, but also says the AG’s office in Binghamton is trying to get Chesapeake to settle.    At least they are aware of the abuse. if the AG’s office settles with no meaningful input from affected citizens, they sometimes fold too easily.
This link also informs us about NY’s Martin Act that essentially says that contracts with clauses that are too vague and void and the company, in this instance, is responsible to make the contract clear.   It also provides for legal fees if one wins, [perhaps].– this is very similar to the federal civil rights laws, which can award legal fees–AT THE END OF A CASE–and subject to the judge’s whims.   Having done a bit of that work over the years, I can assure you this is not as good as it seems.   This is because the costs of bringing a suit against such a huge corp. are staggering and they paper you to death and try to wear you out.  Then when you get done and win, they and the judge nickel and dime you for the fees.   I think we once calculated that we made about 85 cents per hour for the 29 years of the Attica civil rights class action litigation.   It still is better than nothing.


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