EQT Corporation reaches tentative settlement with West Virginia landowners
EQT Corporation 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 $53.5M 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.