In April 2010 I signed a 10-year lease with East Resources, Inc. for a 150-acre tract in the Grant District, but they subsequently went out of business and were bought out by EQT. Does that mean that EQT automatically also buys all of the old East Resources 10-year leases, or can the old contract somehow be renegotiated because there was a change of Lessee? The signed 2010 contract states that the Lessee was "East Resources, Inc." Not EQT. What is the legal mechanism at play here? I was never previously notified that East Resources had gone out of business. If this is legitimate, then in essence anyone could have bought my lease contract and never notified me? The Oil and Gas Lease on file at Wetzel County online records list East Resources, Inc. as being the Lessee, yet EQT claims that they in fact are. So either EQT is lying, or if they are actually in the process of buying out East Resources, once that paperwork changes at Wetzel County records, it would seem I should be able to renegotiate the original lease.
You might try searching the Wetzel document database http://188.8.131.52/WEBInquiry/Default.aspx
Search under East Resources and look for an assignment to EQT. Look for your lease. See what is assigned. When a lease is assigned (like being sold) the new holder of the lease is bound by the terms in the original lease.
Contract law allows any person or entity to take over the rights and responsibilities of a contract. You can sell your interest in your lease to someone else, and the company can sell their interest in your lease to someone else.
On top of that, the lease probably has a clause or a sentence somewhere that specifically allows the company to assign, transfer, or sell its interest in the lease to another company.
Selling and trading leases is a big part of oil and gas companies' business. Some small companies get formed specifically to buy up a lot of leases in an area and sell out to another company.
If the lease included a clause that specifically limited the company from selling its interest in the lease, then it would be unable to do so. That's very rare.
When we negotiate large acreage leases for our clients we ask for notification when the company sells the lease to another company, along with notification of some other things.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your lease has been transferred to EQT, and it's probably a legitimate transfer.