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EQT announces tentative $53.5 million settlement in WV royalty class action suit

PITTSBURGH - A class action lawsuit against EQT Production Company, that was originally filed in 2013 in Doddridge County, and moved on to U.S. District Court, may be coming to an end.

Wednesday, EQT announced that a tentative settelment had been reached with the West Virginia landowners who filed the suit.

The suit was focused around disputes over natural gas royalty payments between 2009 and 2017.

Under the tentative settlement, EQT has agreed to put $53.5 million into a fund that would disperse payments to the members of the class.  EQT has also agreed to stop taking future post production deductions on leases determined by the Court to not permit deductions. EQT and class representatives also agreed that future royalty payments will be based on a "clearly defined index pricing methodology."

Some of the class members can also choose EQT’s standard lease pooling modification in return for a 2% (up to a maximum of 18%) increase in their royalty, according to a news release from EQT.

Class members would also have the chance to opt out of the settlement, EQT officials said.

EQT CEO Robert McNally released this statement on 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. 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.”

The settlement will still need to be approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.


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