LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has barred two energy companies under criminal indictment from participating in oil and gas lease auctions.
DNR Director Keith Creagh says Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp. can't participate in auctions until Michigan charges against them are resolved. The state also won't execute Encana's pending lease and will refund the company's money.
Attorney General Bill Schuette last month charged the companies with violating Michigan antitrust laws in a 2010 auction. He says collusion is suspected of depressing the per-acre cost of leases from $1,510 in May 2010 to under $40 in October 2010.
Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake and Calgary, Alberta-based Encana deny colluding on the bids in 2010 and say they'll fight the charges.
Michigan auctions oil and gas leases each May and October.