It would be helpful to know where your property is located since the answer depends on state law. Texas or Louisiana?
You say you own the land around the surface location? Did you sell the land for the drill site? Just to be clear, you were leased by Chesapeake but the lease expired before the well was spud on April 11, 2011? If this is so, you may have a case for "sub-surface trespass". My take is that if Chesapeake didn't get a sub-surface easement because they missed the fact that the lease had expired, you may have a cause of action but I'll leave that to the opinion of an experienced O&G attorney. I think it would be worth your time to solicit an opinion.
I suggest that you pursue some help to know where you stand and are prepared when the time comes for new wells. You may be able to use your leverage to get an advantageous lease if that's what you want. Otherwise you may wish to remain unleased and negotiate a sub-surface easement for future wells. It may be better to broach this subject with Chesapeake before the fact.
I agree with jay that you are likely to have leverage in negotiating a lease if indeed a competent, experienced O&G attorney thinks you have a case for sub-surface trespass. I know a mineral owner in a similar situation with the exception that a Haynesville well was being drilled when their lease expired. This was a case where the surface location/well pad was not on the section being drilled and the well had not gone horizontal and penetrated the section to be produced. That owner pointed this out to the operator and made an offer to enter a new lease with somewhat better terms than the one that had expired. I'd rather be leased than be an unleased mineral owner. If you do consider selling your mineral rights in the future, an advantageous lease will be important to maximize the value of your mineral right. And if new wells are on the way, you'll get plenty of offers.
Randy Davidson, Davidson Summers APLC, is my O&G attorney. The firm has extensive experience dealing with Chesapeake. It always helps when an operator knows your lawyers and has had experience dealing with them.
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