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Energy & the Law

Charles Sartain

Posts by Charles Sartain

Subcontractors Score a Victory in Federal Court

Posted in Contract Disputes, Title Issues

By: Martin P. Averill On August 27, in In re Heritage Consolidated, L.L.C., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted subcontractor’s lien rights to two oil and gas drilling contractors. The Court reversed a district court ruling which upheld a summary judgment issued by a bankruptcy court denying liens to the two drilling contractors. The case was briefed and argued by Gray… Continue Reading

Freedom to Contract Prevails in New Mexico

Posted in Lease Disputes

Co-author  Alexandra Crawley                                             Is freedom to contract a good thing for everybody?  First Baptist Church of Roswell v. Yates Petroleum Corp. says yes, and confirms that the public policy in New Mexico is freedom to contract. In this case, it was to avoid the Proceeds Payment Act requirement for payment of interest on well proceeds once a legal determination is made that a payee is… Continue Reading

In Wyoming, a Higher Burden for Chemical Disclosure Exemption?

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing, Regulations

Co-author Sandra Mazan In Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has the burden of justifying the use of trade secrets exemption from revealing the contents of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The court also required the WOGCC, when deciding what a… Continue Reading

CO2 is Good

Posted in Lease Disputes, Royalty Disputes

… in the right places. Co-author Mark Bohon In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This case reflects court’s awareness of improvements in oil recovery created by new technology, in this case CO2… Continue Reading

Treachery of the Untrustworthy Trustee

Posted in Contract Disputes, Title Issues

Co-author Brooke Sizer J-W Operating Co. v. Olsen is another Louisiana concursus (“It’s not my money, Your Honor; let them fight over it”). The Trust In 2006, Fred Houston created the Fred L. Houston Trust and placed into it the Tenneco lease, which had been producing since 1974. Ms. Williams was the trustee. The trust instrument declared… Continue Reading

This is Why You Need a Will

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Co-author Brooke Sizer Let’s talk title disputes, especially ones between those with record title and those claiming title by possession: They are complicated (There were 229 defendants in today’s case) They happen when there is a lot of money to fight over ($2.7 MM in today’s case) They involve events that happened a long time ago The witness who can… Continue Reading

Frac(k)ing, Parr v. Aruba, and Minority Oppression

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing, Litigation

WHAT IS IT, FRACING OR FRACKING? Having gone back-and-forth over how to spell the process, I’ve figured it out. Why it is “Fracing”: That’s what the engineers call it, and they’re the ones who do it.  Some law firm blogs stand fast with their friends and agree.  It’s a gerund:  A noun formed from a verb by adding “-ing”.  So… Continue Reading

Are Personal Injury Damages Available in a Nuisance Case?

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing, Lease Disputes

Co-Author Maryann Zaki As promised, on May 22, today’s post is a study of the personal injury issues raised by the defendants in Parr v. Aruba. You will find a more detailed analysis here. In this post we raise the question and discuss what the parties believe the answer should be. The Havner Hurdle Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Havner established hurdles to a… Continue Reading

Are Oil and Gas Producers Protecting the Environment?

Posted in Energy Policy, Environmental Policy

In their search for Utopia, some opponents of oil and gas drilling ignore innovation … What’s harmful now will forever be that way. The Question That isn’t true, but it raises a question for producers: What are you doing to reduce the negative effects of your activities on the communities where you operate? The Answers Here are examples of the industry investing considerable time,… Continue Reading

Perils of “Other Provisions” in the Model Form JOA

Posted in Operating Agreements, Purchase and Sale Agreements

Scriveners, when you add those “Other Provisions” in Article XVI of your model from JOA’s, are you sure that the document remains internally consistent, that no “Other Provision” conflicts with the form? … Are you mindful of which of two related contracts will govern if there is a conflict in provisions? Did you choose the correct one?… Continue Reading

Operator Wins JOA Fight

Posted in Contract Disputes, Operating Agreements

MDU Barnett Ltd. P’ship v. Chesapeake Exploration Ltd. P’ship is at least three things: The culmination of an unhappy relationship between an operator and non-operators. What happens when joint owners’ interests are not aligned. Predictable, given Texas law and the relationship of parties under the model form JOA. In 2005 Chesapeake and Conglomerate Gas entered into an Exploration and Development Agreement involving Barnett Shale properties…. Continue Reading

What’s Up at the Department of Energy?

Posted in Energy Policy

Who is that man on the right?           a.  Lineal descendant of  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,   b.  Reincarnation of Froederick Fronkensteen,     c.  Tootsie … in the later years,       d.  Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S Department of Energy Other than Solyndra, what comes to mind when you consider the DOE (assuming… Continue Reading

Condition Precedent Sinks Chesapeake

Posted in Contract Disputes

A condition precedent was the issue in Preston Exploration Company, et al v. Chesapeake Energy Corporation. This opinion was the result of the parties’ second visit to the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the first trip, the issue was whether the Purchase and Sale Agreement between the parties in a $110 million transaction satisfied the statute of… Continue Reading

Barnett Shale Drilling Increased North Texas Ozone – Fact or Fiction?

Posted in Environmental Policy, Hydraulic Fracturing

It’s been said that if you torture numbers, they will confess to anything. Perhaps we should call in a UN peacekeeping force to address the treatment of hydraulic fracturing in North Texas. A University of North Texas study presented to the North Central Texas Council of Governments by student Mahdi Ahmadi, working with his advisor… Continue Reading

Keystone Pipeline is Delayed … Why?

Posted in Energy Policy

In considering how many bad reasons President Obama might have in announcing a delay of his Keystone Pipeline decision, you’ve got to feel like the hungry mosquito at the nudist colony: There is so much opportunity you don’t know where to start. I can think of 253: 199 Democratic members of the U S House, 53 in the… Continue Reading