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Industry Brief

Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp. have been cleared of attempting to manipulate lease sales in Michigan in 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division sent a letter to the producers saying the case was closed. Michigan has not said whether it may continue to investigate bid rigging charges, but a probable cause hearing set for Monday (May 5) remains on the docket, according to the Michigan Attorney General's office. The producers formally were charged in March by the state for allegedly collaborating in 2010 to avoid bidding against each other in state oil and gas lease sales (see Daily GPIMarch 6). Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette claims that executives of Chesapeake and Delaware-based subsidiary Encana Oil and Gas USA privately negotiated for some auctioned leases, which caused prices for the land to plummet.

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