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Energy & the Law

Charles Sartain

Posts by Charles Sartain

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

A Plaintiffs’ Jury Verdict in a Texas Fracing Case

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing, Pollution

Co-author Maryann Zaki In case you’ve been living in your van down by the river, you’ve heard that a Texas jury awarded $2.9 million to landowners in a case involving alleged hydrocarbon exposure due to hydraulic fracturing operations. Here is the jury verdict. The Parrs sued Aruba Petroleum, alleging that drilling and fracing at Aruba’s 22 wells located within two miles of… Continue Reading

A Cost-Free Royalty Clause That Works – Part Two: The Override

Posted in Lease Disputes, Royalty Disputes

Co-author Travis Booher Welcome to part two of the hair-splitting decision in Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder. See our prior post about the basic facts. More Facts In addition to their cost-free royalty clause for wells on the leased premises, the Hyders also received an overriding royalty interest on wells drilled from pads located on the leased… Continue Reading

Native Gas and Storage Gas: Who Owns It?

Posted in Eminent Domain

Northern National Gas Company vs. Approximately 9117 Acres in Pratt, Camden and Reno Counties, Kansas shows the relationship between Kansas oil and gas law and the Kansas Underground Storage Act (KSA §55-1201 et seq). The result: Obtaining authority to condemn a subsurface reservoir works no instantaneous change of ownership in storage gas under Kansas law. Ownership rights are determined… Continue Reading

More on the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and Other Topics

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Policy

My recent post about Alex Epstein and the moral case for fossil fuels told only part of his story. He also says that the global warming “alarmists” have it all wrong. He refers to “unambiguous” data that CO2 emissions have risen from an atmosphere concentration of .03% to .04%, while over the same period climate-related deaths have… Continue Reading

Federal Court: General Partnership Interest Could Be a Security

Posted in Litigation, Regulations

By: Martin P. Averill Are general partnership agreements for oil and gas exploration considered “securities” governed by federal securities regulations? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit  thinks they could be. In SEC v. Jeffory D. Shields and Geodynamics, Inc. et al., the court reversed a trial court ruling which dismissed the SEC’s claims… Continue Reading

The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels

Posted in Energy Policy, Environmental Policy

Do bystanders see oil and gas producers as taking a stand for morality?  Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress says they should.  He approaches the value of fossil fuels in our society differently from most industry defenders. The opponents make a moral case against fossil fuels: They destroy the earth and their use must be… Continue Reading

A Cost-Free Royalty Clause That Works – Part One

Posted in Lease Disputes, Royalty Disputes

Co-author Travis Booher Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder is another hair-splitting Texas decision about “cost-free royalties”.  The Facts The Hyder family executed a lease covering 1,037 acres. Chesapeake drilled 22 wells on the leased premises. The Hyders believed their lease provided for a “cost free” royalty; that is, no post-production deductions. Chesapeake deducted post-production costs, and the Hyders sued… Continue Reading

Distributions from a Texas Trust Deemed Separate Property

Posted in Litigation

Co-author Alexandra A. Crawley Conventional wisdom is that a spouse’s earnings from separate property are community property. But it’s not that simple. In Benavides v. Mathis a Texas court denied wife Leticia’s claim to one-half of the income derived from minerals held in a trust in which incapacitated husband Carlos was a beneficiary. Years before Carlos and Leticia began their nuptial… Continue Reading