PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) today announced that it has reached a tentative settlement agreement with West Virginia landowners who are part of a statewide class action lawsuit. EQT believes that the proposed settlement agreement, which will resolve lease royalty claims in a case that has been pending since 2013, demonstrates the Company’s commitment to fostering good relationships with landowners.
To resolve the royalty claims for the class period, which spans from 2009 through 2017, EQT has agreed to pay $53.5 million into a settlement fund that will be established to disburse payments to class participants. Each class member will have the opportunity to opt out of the settlement.
Under the settlement, EQT has agreed to stop taking future post production deductions on leases determined by the Court to not permit deductions. EQT and the class representatives also agreed that future royalty payments will be based on a clearly defined index pricing methodology.
Certain class participants may also elect to adopt EQT’s standard lease pooling modification in return for a 2% (up to a maximum of 18%) increase in their royalty. The settlement is subject to Court approval and achieving a threshold minimum percentage of participation by the class members. Following the closing of the settlement, the new deduction and pricing methodology is expected to prevent royalty claims related to the leases subject to the settlement.
“EQT is working diligently to resolve this matter with our leaseholders and earn their confidence, as well as that of other West Virginia residents and community leaders,” said Robert McNally, EQT CEO. “This was an opportunity to turn over a new leaf in our relationship with our West Virginia leaseholders and this mutually beneficial agreement demonstrates our renewed commitment to the state of West Virginia.”
Finalization of the settlement, which would resolve claims asserted in the lawsuit Kay Company, LLC, et al. v. EQT Production Company, et al., a case pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, will follow the customary Court approval process and the issuance of Court approved notices to class members.
Disclosures in this news release contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Statements that do not relate strictly to historical or current facts are forward-looking. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, forward-looking statements contained in this news release specifically include the expectations of plans, strategies, objectives and growth and anticipated financial and operational performance of EQT and its subsidiaries, as well as expectations regarding potential future royalty claims and the ability to obtain approval of the proposed settlement agreement by the Court and the requisite percentage of class members. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. EQT has based these forward-looking statements on current expectations and assumptions about future events. While EQT considers these expectations and assumptions to be reasonable, they are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, regulatory and other risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and beyond EQT’s control. The risks and uncertainties that may affect the operations, performance and results of EQT’s business and forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those risks discussed in EQT’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made and EQT does not intend to correct or update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About EQT Corporation
EQT Corporation is a natural gas production company with emphasis in the Appalachian Basin and operations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. With 130 years of experience and a long-standing history of good corporate citizenship, EQT is the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. As a leader in the use of advanced horizontal drilling technology, EQT is committed to minimizing the impact of drilling-related activities and reducing its overall environmental footprint. Through safe and responsible operations, EQT is helping to meet our nation’s demand for clean-burning energy, while continuing to provide a rewarding workplace and support for activities that enrich the communities where its employees live and work. Visit EQT Corporation at www.EQT.com; and to learn more about EQT’s sustainability efforts, please visit https://csr.eqt.com.