Chesapeake Energy is leaving Fort Worth and the Barnett Shale. The Oklahoma City company that was such a huge local presence here from 2004 through years of urban natural gas drilling and the “fracking” debate will be little more than a bittersweet memory.
The bitter part comes from Chesapeake’s aggressive tactics in securing leases and drilling wells in neighborhoods where some residents didn’t want them, resulting in many confrontational public meetings.
More bitterness followed as some property owners decided that the company was cheating them out of part of the royalties they were due and filed lawsuits.
But there were also sweet parts along the way, especially for the hundreds of thousands of people who received hundreds if not thousands of dollars each from their lease bonuses. Chesapeake was an aggressive bidder.
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Neighborhoods, even large groups of neighborhoods, united and bargained collectively for the best lease deals. At the peak of the boom in 2008, some lease bonus payments were jaw-dropping.
Finally, Chesapeake gave millions to local charities and the annual Parade of Lights at Christmas.
As bad as the bitterness was, it did not outweigh the sweet.