Eagle Valley Energy claiming force majeure for COVID to get free extension to lease

We leased our mineral rights in Washington County, TX, Sept. 2018 for 3 yrs, which will be up in Sept. 2021. Eagle Valley Energy just asked us to sign a free extension to Sept. 2022, claiming force majeure for COVID.

This does not sound legitimate to me, since they did not have a contract to drill on our lease in calendar year 2020 with a driller who could not drill because of COVID.

Your thoughts, please?

Many thanks!

Force majeure, if applicable to a lease in its primary term, would only be evaluated due to circumstances at the end of the primary term. It does not matter if there were a few months last year when the state was shut down. Oil is at $60 and RRC is approving permits. There is not any apparent reason why a well could not be permitted and drilled at this time.

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I would also hold off until the near the end of the primary term to renegotiate any new lease. Maybe they will have a rig ready (plenty of time) and maybe someone else will offer a better new lease (or not). Look at your first lease and see if you have a force majeure clause at all. I usually strike them on my leases.

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