Gas firm wants to extend Southern Tier leases

A Texas-based energy company blanketed Broome and Delaware county landowners with letters bearing an unwelcome piece of news last week.

XTO Energy is seeking to forcibly extend oil and gas leases because of long-standing bans on high volume hydraulic fracturing, the company told landowners in "force majeure" letters sent to members of the Deposit Coalition last week.

"We didn't like it, (but) it's not a surprise," said Dewey Decker, who led the 500-member coalition when it signed its $110 million deal with XTO in 2008. "We kind of expected it."

Signed in May 2008, leases gave landowners $2,411 per acre up front in addition to 15 percent royalties and were originally set to expire after five years.

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